New data on Chicago’s homicide rate raises hopes that gang-related killings, which have too often taken innocent lives with stray bullets, may have reached a turning point.
March was the 13th consecutive month of declining gun violence in the nation’s third largest city, CNN reported. Compared to March 2017, the number of shootings fell by 17 percent and murders decreased 25 percent. The downward trend continued from 2016 when the city recorded 771 murders—the highest rate in nearly two decades. The murder rate has dropped 16 percent since that high point.
“It’s a marathon, not a sprint,” Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson stated, according to CNN. “As long as we keep trending the way we are and we keep developing these relationships and partnerships and continue to invest in our police department, then we’ll see the gains that we’re looking for.”
There has also been good news coming out of Baltimore, another city plagued by gun violence. For a stretch of 11 days in February, Baltimore did not have a single homicide. The city had not seen a homicide-free streak that long since March 2014. In Fact, Baltimore had fewer homicides in February than in any other month in two years.
Baltimore’s crime data for March 2018 has not been released yet. But February marked a step in the right direction for a city that USA Today listed as the most dangerous big city in America, according to the newspaper’s anaysis.
What caused the turnaround in Chicago? The Chicago Police Department identified three factors: hiring more officers, improving community policing and utilizing technology, including gunshot detection systems and software that predicts criminal activity.