Murder Rate up in January: Police

Overall crime down 10.6 percent

Sunday, Feb 6, 2011  |  Updated 12:35 PM CDT
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Though murders have increased 27.3 percent compared to last January, there was a “double-digit’’ drop in overall crime last month, police said.

The information was released Sunday morning during a press conference at police headquarters, 3510 S. Michigan Ave. on the South Side.

The preliminary statistics show that violent crime dropped 10.2 percent and property crime dropped 10.7 percent, according to a release from police News Affairs.

Police News Affairs Officer Robert Perez said the final stats will be available Feb. 15.

In total, overall index crime decreased by 10.6 percent compared to January of 2010. This drop in crime marks the 25th consecutive month of reductions of overall crime in Chicago, according to the release.

There was an increase in the number of homicides in Jan. of 2011 -- this year there were 28 and last year there were 22. When 2010 ended, the city had the fewest number of murders since 1965, according to police statistics.

Every other category of violent crime decreased by double-digits.

Criminal sexual assaults showed the greatest reduction among violent crimes with a drop of 13 percent. Perez said in 2010 there were 115 criminal sexual assault, compared to the 100 this year.

Aggravated assaults and aggravated batteries declined by 11.3 and 10.1 percent, respectively while robberies dropped 10.4 percent, the release said. Property crime showed reductions in every category of property index offenses except car thefts, which were up by 21.8 percent.

General theft dropped by 20.7 percent, while burglary and arson showed 6.0 and 4.7 percent decreases, respectively.

Police Supt. Jody Weis, who spoke during the meeting, said the men and women of the police department continue to work diligently to reduce crime, and none of the incidents are acceptable.

"We will not rest until the figures for violent crime and homicides are closer to the only acceptable number: zero,” Weis said.

Weis commended Jefferson Park officers, who recognized the upward trend in motor vehicle thefts within their district, and initiated an investigation, which resulted in the arrest of one individual for possession of a stolen car and the recovery of eight vehicles.

Weis praised the efforts of officers who seized over $6 million in narcotics in two separate investigations, along with nine guns. More than 560 guns have been recovered since the beginning of the year, including 30 assault weapons.

Weis stressed the devastating effect guns have on the city -- saying the majority of the homicides in January, nearly 72 percent of the total, were committed with a firearm.

Because of that, and the fact that gangs, guns and drugs are intertwined, those elements will remain the focus of police efforts to further reduce violent crime in the city, according to Weis.

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