Chicago police superintendent Larry Snelling (Chicago Tribune/Getty Images)
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Chicago police superintendent Larry Snelling admitted Friday that he mistakenly overstated the number of homicide cases the police department had resolved in January, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
During a January 30 public safety forum, Snelling told West Side residents that the Chicago Police Department had "cleared" 76% of the murders committed that month.
Snelling stated, "Of the homicides we've had this year, which is 25, 19 of those have been cleared already."
Cases are categorized as cleared when a suspect is arrested, or a detective can "exceptionally" close the case when prosecutors refuse to bring charges against a suspect, the suspect passes away, or police have identified a suspect but do not make an arrest.
The next day, during another event, Snelling told the Economic Club of Chicago that detectives cleared 20 of the 26 murders over the last month. He also claimed that all cleared cases led to arrests and charges.
Snelling was forced to admit his error after the department released data showing that only three homicide cases committed in January have been cleared by the department. The department's reporting did not state whether those three closed cases led to arrests and charges.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported that another 16 homicide cases have been cleared, but those cases involved murders committed prior to January 2024.
"This was my miscommunication, and I own it," Snelling stated Friday. "My goal in discussing these cases was to bring attention to the victims and communities plagued by the trauma of violence. My miscommunication should not overshadow the great work being done by the Bureau of Detectives to bring justice to the victims and a measure of closure to their families."
A department spokesperson reported that the police superintendent's mistake "has since been rectified and corrected internally."
Of the 797 homicides committed in 2021, the department closed 400. Arrests were made in only about half of those cleared cases, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. In 2023, detectives cleared 319 of the 617 murder cases.
Homicides and shootings were down at least 25% in January 2024 compared to last year, according to the department. For the same period, robberies were reportedly down 28%.
"We are trending in the right direction," Snelling told the Economic Club of Chicago on Wednesday. "But we also understand that there are people who are still being affected, and we're going to continue to work for those people."
"We are continuing to build on the progress we made in 2023, which included reductions in shootings and homicides," Snelling added.
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Candace Hathaway is a staff writer for Blaze News.