Chicago gun violence down for 8th straight month, police say

Shootings declined over 34 percent, homicides over 30 percent from last October.

ByABC News
November 1, 2017, 6:03 PM

— -- The Chicago police department’s monthly crime summary released today features a headline that may change the gun violence narrative that’s focused so much attention on this city.

For the eighth month in a row, gun violence has declined here. October saw a 30-percent drop in murders compared to the same month last year and a 34 percent reduction in shootings, according to the report. For the year so far, there have been 57 fewer murders than in 2016, a decline of almost 10 percent. The drop in shootings is even more dramatic: 545 less than in 2016, a reduction of over 18 percent.

Police attribute the progress mainly to enhanced technology and more focused intelligence gathering on the gangs that have generated most of the gun violence. Anthony Riccio, chief of the Chicago police Organized Crime Bureau, tells ABC News that “strategic support centers” set up in some of the city’s most violent districts have played a major role.

These centers combine computerized information about people in those areas likely to commit crimes -- data such as police records and incident reports -- with intelligence gathered by officers on the street. The result is what the CPD calls “predictive policing” that tells the cops where and when to deploy officers, preventing gun violence before it occurs.

“It’s been pretty accurate,” said Riccio. “All this information and analysis tells us where we believe we’re going to see violence. It’s much more laser-focused than we’ve had in the past.”

The police have also cited an increased number of gunshot detectors called ShotSpotters set up around the city’s most violent neighborhoods. These audio sensors detect and locate the source of gunshots quickly, immediately transmitting the information to police allowing them to respond before 911 calls come in about the shots.

But the progress must still be measured against a year in which the city’s homicide numbers spiked significantly and drew national attention. In 2016, Chicago recorded 762 murders, an increase of nearly 60 percent from the year before.

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