It’s a remarkable achievement for a city that has struggled to shake off its reputation for gun violence: Chicago, with its historically high crime rates, had its lowest number of homicides in 2019 in four years. The city counted 490 homicides last year, compared to 549 in 2018, according to recently released data by police.
The Chicago Police Department also reported a 10% drop in shootings. There were 2,139 shootings in 2019, compared to 2,378 in 2018. Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson attributes the decline in shootings and homicides to the department’s use of technology and big data to create a real-time crime center that can better predict and respond to crime.
In addition to technology, Johnson also credited the city’s outreach programs aimed at providing opportunities for young people, such as after-school programs and summer jobs. “All these things really count,” he said at a press conference. “We have to give people alternatives to making the wrong decisions.”
The city has invested $11 million in its violence reduction initiative, which includes partnering with community organizations to provide social services to those most at risk of committing or becoming a victim of violent crime. The Chicago Police Department also implemented a strategic decision support center in 2017, which uses an algorithm to analyze data and predict crime hotspots, allowing officers to better deploy resources.
While the drop in homicides is a welcome decrease, gun violence remains a major issue in Chicago. The city still saw over 2,000 shootings in 2019, and it has one of the highest murder rates in the country. But the decrease in homicides and shootings marks a positive step in the right direction for a city that has been plagued by violence for years.
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The material in this article is written on the basis of another article.