Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

McCarthy: Chicago Crime is Down

Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy appeared before the City Council budget hearings today.

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McCarthy: Chicago Crime is Down

Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy listens to a reporter's question at Chicago Police Headquarters on May 6, 2013.

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In a preview of his appearance before the City Council today, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy has said that every category of crime—including murder—is down this year.

The totals for every major crime are down this year compared with 2012, according to police statistics. There were 348 murders through Oct. 20 compared with 424 over the same period last year — an 18 percent decrease. Of the other 2013 totals:

  • Theft was the lowest since 1973, when the definition was changed to include every theft, not just those valued at more than $50.
  • Criminal sexual assault was the lowest since 1983. Before then, the department used the FBI’s narrower definition of forcible rape.
  • Aggravated assault and battery were the lowest since 1982.
  • Arson was the lowest since 1981, when the department started reporting the crime to the FBI for national crime statistics.

In testifying before the City Council, McCarthy said that despite the drop in crime, the police department struggles to get the message out that the crime situation in the city is improving.

McCarthy said a "cultural change" within CPD is taking hold, but the biggest challenge is "communicating what we're doing" with a skeptical public.

McCarthy also said the department’s upcoming December police exam has attracted 19,000 applicants, and that he expected a “good quality crop” of candidates.

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