Chicago homicides down 30% for first quarter: police

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CHICAGO — The Chicago Police Department says the newest crime numbers released Monday confirm a trend that has been shaping up for several years. Murders so far this year are down 30% from the same period a year ago. Over the past three years, murders have been cut by more than half. Shootings were down 17%, and hit a 5-year low; they dropped 14% in the same quarter last year and 21% the year before. And the city witnessed 20-year lows in burglaries, robberies and vehicle thefts. Much of the credit goes to the city’s campaign to put about 1,000 new officers on the streets. About two-thirds of them now concentrate on South and West Side neighborhoods that were among the city’s most dangerous. Gunshot detection systems allow officers to respond promptly to shooting scenes, and prevent further violence; and license plate readers help police track down cars owned by violent offenders. The police department says it confiscated 2,000 guns in the first three months of the year. That’s ahead of last year’s record breaking pace.

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