Chicago’s homicide rate fell for the third consecutive year in 2019, continuing a trend that began after an unusually deadly 2016, according to CNN.
The nation’s third most populous city recorded 490 murders this year as of Tuesday, a 13 percent drop from 564 in 2018 and a 35 percent drop from 756 in 2016, the city’s highest number in two decades.
A preliminary tally by the Chicago Police Department also found fewer shootings than in 2018, with 2,139 this year, down about 9.6 percent from the 2,367 the previous year.
The department is slated to announce another set of preliminary counts in the final hours of the year, with the results of an FBI audit due in the early weeks of 2020.
City leaders have attributed the improvement to the hiring of more police officers and an emphasis on investing in schools and social services.
"I think that all of those things working together — being on the ground, supporting vulnerable victims, supporting vulnerable communities — led to the declines that we saw this year, and particularly over the course of the summer," Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D), who took office in May, said on CNN’s “New Day.”
President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE has repeatedly attacked the city’s leaders for failing to put a stop to violence even as the homicide rate has fallen, saying in November that the city would “never stop its crime wave with the current Superintendent of Police” after then-Superintendent Eddie Johnson refused to attend a Trump speech in Chicago to the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
Johnson was later dismissed by Lightfoot after an incident in which he was found asleep in his car, with the mayor saying he misled her about why he had been sleeping in the vehicle.
The city’s violence has also frequently been cited by opponents of gun control, who point to its strict gun laws as evidence that such measures are ineffective. Proponents of the laws, including Johnson, point to its proximity to states such as Indiana and Wisconsin with much looser gun regulations.