The city of Chicago saw nearly a 16 percent drop in murders in 2017 from previous years, according to police statistics released on New Year’s Day.
2016 was the deadliest year in former President Barack Obama’s hometown in nearly 20 years with 771 murders. In 2017, the number of murders dropped to 650. Shooting incidents also dropped from 3,550 in 2016 to 2,785.
The number of shooting victims declined from the 4,349 victims in 2016 to 3,457 in 2017, The Daily Caller reported.
“I am proud of the progress our officers made in reducing gun violence all across the city in 2017, but none of us are satisfied,” Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in a statement.
Police also said that crime complaints citywide fell 2 percent and 27 percent more gun arrests were made in 2017, according to CNN.
“In 2018, we are going to work to build on the progress we made last year — to reduce gun violence, to save lives and to find justice for victims,” Johnson said.
Johnson said in December that investments in technology have helped the police tackle the crime in Chicago.
Additionally, more than 1,100 new officers were hired, and the department implemented training of a revised use of force policy. All officers are also required to wear body cameras while on regular patrol.
The department also put Strategic Decision Support Centers in neighborhoods that “have presented historical challenges with violence” according to the Chicago police website.
“These centers include predictive crime software that helps district leadership make deployment decisions, additional cameras, gunshot detection systems, and mobile phones to officers in the field who receive real-time notifications and intelligence data at their fingertips,” the website read.
The first two districts with these support centers saw a 43 percent and 26 percent decrease in shootings, respectively, according to police reports.
President Donald Trump has frequently criticized the crime in Chicago. He tweeted that he was sending Federal help to the city in June.
“There are those who say that Afghanistan is safer than Chicago, okay? What is going on? You know what’s wrong with Chicago? Weak, ineffective politicians,” he said at a rally in Pensacola, Florida in December. “Democrats that don’t want to force restrictions.”
Police records show during Obama’s presidency, 3,917 people were murdered in Chicago. According to CNN, 400 to 500 homicides occurred a year in the city between the 2007 and 2015. Many people in his hometown wished that he had done more in his position to help.
“We are not going to be saying thank you for the eight years of work that he didn’t do in the black communities,” activist Ja’Mal Green told CNN.
Like many others in his neighborhood, Green had hoped that Obama’s speech of hope and change in 2008 would translate to his South Side community where Obama is also from. The 2016 homicide rate last year was more than New York and Los Angeles combined.
“We do feel neglected,” he said. “And we felt like (Obama) could do more and he could have possibly saved some lives.”
The first homicide in Chicago of 2018 happened early Monday morning. A 51-year-old man was shot while driving on the Northwest Side of Chicago.
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