CHICAGO (CBS) — New Chicago crime numbers show a steep plunge in violent crime so far this year.
There have been 44 murders in Chicago through the end of February, compared to 80 in the first two months of 2018, a 45 percent decline. As for shootings, there have been 214 so far this year, compared to 282 last year at this time, a drop of nearly 25 percent.
So far this year, four police districts – the 16th, 18th, 19th, and 20th; all on the North Side – have had no murders.
In February alone, murders dropped 40 percent compared to February 2018. Shootings were down 7 percent.
In five districts – the 1st, 5th, 16th, 19th, and 20th – there were no shootings in February 2019.
Police said their plan to reduce violence in the Chicago area is working. They attribute it to a combination of more officers and new technology. Police said they’ve added 95 new officers to Chicago neighborhoods this year. More than two thirds of them have been assigned to districts on the South and West sides.
The department launched two new strategic decision support centers in February, in the 20th and 22nd districts. The so-called “nerve centers” are equipped with ShotSpotter gunshot detection systems and other high-tech crime-fighting tools. Police said that new technology has helped improve apprehension rates in those two districts.
Despite the drop in crime for most of the city, three police districts have seen a rise in shootings and murders this year.
In the 3rd District, there have been five murders this year, compared to four in the first two months of 2018. There were seven shootings through the end of February 2018, but 16 so far this year.
“I think right now, it is early in the year, so I’m not worried about it right now; but, of course, we’re watching it carefully, and if we need to redeploy some resources, we definitely will,” Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said.