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Chicago Police Tout Decrease In Murders, Shootings

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson (left) at a City Council meeting in 2016. Johnson says new hires and data-driven policing are helping to bring crime numbers down.

Chicago saw fewer murders and shootings in the first quarter of 2018 compared with the same time period in 2017, according to new stats released by police officials.

The Chicago Police Department's crime numbers show a "22 percent reduction in murders and a 25 percent reduction in shootings compared to the same period in 2017," a statement from the department said. Citywide, crime is down 15 percent so far this year.

March was also the 13th consecutive month Chicago saw a decline in gun violence, according to CPD. There were 17 percent fewer shootings than in March 2017. Murders for the month were down 25 percent compared with March 2017.

"The progress we have seen in the first quarter of the year is a direct result of the hard work of our officers and the investments we have made to make CPD a better agency for everyone," Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in a statement. "Our work is far from over. We will continue our hiring plan and identify ways we can continue to integrate technology into the crime fight. We will also double down on our efforts to build trust and lasting partnerships with the communities we serve."

Police officials attribute the downtick to investments in more hires, community policing and data-driven strategies.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that CPD's Strategic Decision Support Centers or data-driven offices "are outfitted to use sensors to detect gunshots and help deploy officers to trouble spots. The SDSCs are operated by both the CPD and the University of Chicago Crime Lab." Chief of Patrol Fred Waller told the Times that officers in those districts have been receptive to using the centers, though "the department is still working to perfect its use" of them.

" 'Our focus is a little more laser-like,' Waller said. 'We're trying to find what [are] the best practices, how many officers for how long in a certain area.' "

The city has long been under national scrutiny for its violent crime rate, with President Trump tweeting last year that the city's mayor should ask for federal help and threatening to "send in the Feds!"

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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