Chicago Murder Rate Lowest Since 1965, As Amrerica's Biggest Cities See Decline In Homicides

Well, here's a bit of good news to start off 2014: Last year, Chicago's homicide rate was its lowest since 1965, and the state ended the year with a 24 percent decrease in shootings, an 18 percent decrease in homicides, and a 16 percent drop in all types of crime from 2012. This is a sharp plunge from 2012, when Chicago claimed the unwanted title of the murder capital of the United States from New York City, and saw more murders than either NYC or Los Angeles — in spite of being a fraction of the size of either city.

But all three cities saw a drop in murders this year, and urban homicides appear to be on the decline. Chicago's numbers closed out at 415, whereas New York City had 333 and L.A. had roughly 250 (New York's homicide rate, incidentally was the lowest it's been since 1963). Last year, Chicago led with more than 500 in 2012, while NYC had roughly 415, and L.A. had 298. In fact, at least five of the nation's biggest cities are reporting a decline in homicides to levels not seen since the 1960s.

Gun violence in Chicago has also dropped in the last year, falling by 24 percent, from 2,448 incidents in 2012 to 1,864 in 2013. Every police district in Chicago reported a reduction in crime, according to the state, and the number of recorded shooting victims fell from 3,066 last year to 2,328 this year.

Chicago's mayor, Rahm Emanuel, credited programs intended to take at-risk teens off the street, such as the summer-jobs program in which almost 20,000 adolescents participated. And according to the Chicago police force, a significant factor behind the drop was the $100 million that the force spent on overtime for officers to patrol high-risk neighborhoods at night, in addition to targeted efforts at gang violence. Last year, police also confiscated 6,500 illegal guns in the state.

"We are making significant progress by putting additional officers in high-crime areas, using intelligence to prevent retaliatory shootings, moving officers from administrative positions back to the streets," Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said in a statement.

So, apparently not letting cops sit behind desks helps with crime. Unfortunately, 2014 has already seen at least four wounded in a shooting in the state, after police fired shots upon answering a call in the south side of the city.