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Chicago sees drastic 43 percent drop in homicides in first two months of 2019

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The Chicago PD credits this to additional officers, new technology, and community engagement

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Editor's note: this article has been edited to more clearly reflect that data for past years was only for the first two months of that year.

Chicago police report that the city has seen a drastic drop in crime, with homicides down nearly 43 percent.

What are the numbers?

There were 99 homicides during January and February of 2016, 101 for the same time period in 2017, and 80 in 2018. In 2019, that number dropped drastically to 44. In February alone, the number of homicides dropped from 40 in 2018 to 23 in 2019, a 42.5 percent drop.

In 2017, Chicago had the 10th highest murder rate for any city in the entire country (24 per 100,000 people).

According to a news release from the Chicago Police Department, in addition to the drop in homicides the city had seen a drop in shootings overall in the first two months of the year, from 404 in 2016, 399 in 2017, and 282 in 2018 down to 214 in 2019.

Seizures of illegal guns were up 6 percent, and robberies, burglaries, and motor vehicle thefts were also "at nearly 20-year lows."

What measures did the Chicago PD take?

The department credited the drop in crime partly on an increase in manpower. At least 1,263 new police officers have been hired since the beginning of last year. These additions do not include any officers who were hired to replace officers who left the department during that time frame.

The city also added new technology centers that allow "officers to respond to calls for service more quickly and arrive equipped with more information." These centers "feature live video feeds from security cameras throughout the district as well as gunshot detection systems that allow analysts to pinpoint the location of gunfire. This information is then fed directly to responding officers via mobile technology."

In addition to these measures, the Chicago PD was "involved in hundreds of community engagements throughout the city," to try to prevent crime by reaching out to the citizens themselves.

"Crime data for February provides strong evidence that the Chicago Police Department is on the right path toward improving public safety," Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in a statement. "CPD's combined approach of adding manpower and new technology along with doubling down on building neighborhood partnerships is working."

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