Chicago closes year with double-digit drops in murders, shootings

Though 492 people were killed in 2019, the number is 13% lower than the 567 who were murdered in 2018, according to data released Tuesday by Chicago police

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Soon-to-be interim Police Supt. Charlie Beck, left, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and retiring Police Supt. Eddie Johnson answer questions from reporters at City Hall after a police and fire awards ceremony on Friday.

Interim Police Supt. Charlie Beck, left, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and former Police Supt. Eddie Johnson answer questions from reporters at City Hall after a police and fire awards ceremony Nov. 22, 2019.

Fran Spielman/Sun-Times

Chicago continued to see a drop in violent crime in 2019, with the number of murders at their lowest since 2015 and shootings at their lowest since 2014.

Though 492 people were killed in 2019, the number is 13% lower than the 567 who were murdered in 2018, according to data released Tuesday by Chicago police. The reduction in homicides builds on a gradual decrease from 658 in 2017 and 778 in 2016.

The Chicago Sun-Times tracked 503 homicides in 2019.

Arrests were made in 101 of the murders that originated in 2019, according to police records.

There were 2151 shootings across the city in 2019, police said. That number marks a 10% drop from 2018, when 2381 people were shot.

Police chalk up the progress to Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s violence reduction strategy, which “mobilized additional resources, technology and collaboration with a number of city partners as well as violence interrupters, block clubs and street outreach organizations across Chicago’s neighborhoods.”

Officers also credit the reduction in crime to their removal of the highest amount of illegal guns from the streets since 2012, with over 10,800 guns recovered, police said.

In addition to the drop in gun violence, Chicago saw 20-year lows in robberies, burglaries and carjackings, police said, resulting in a 10% drop in overall crime compared to 2018.

The Sun-Times reported Tuesday that Mayor Lightfoot urged police to keep the total number of murders for the year under 500.

“These historic reductions in citywide crime are the direct result of Chicago’s police officers, community-based organizations and street outreach groups who have dedicated their lives to keeping this city and its residents safe every day,” Lightfoot said. “Make no mistake, our work will not end until Chicago is the safest big city in the country. By investing in our South and West Side neighborhoods and addressing the root causes of gun violence, we can build on this progress in 2020 and continue making meaningful gains in public safety in communities throughout the city.”

This year, Mayor Lightfoot has pledged $11.5 million, or a 700% increase, in funding towards violence reduction, police said.The funds “will provide a head start toward expanding community-based street outreach, integrating trauma-informed victim services and providing intensive, youth-focused interventions for those who are at the highest risk of violence.”

Read more oncrime, and track the city’shomicides.

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