Chicago once again saw a drop in homicides as another year came to an end Monday, police said.
The city ended 2018 with an estimated 561 homicides. That’s compared to 660 homicides in 2017 and 777 in 2016, the Chicago Police Department announced Tuesday.
Officials said the number could change as New Year’s Eve reports continue to be entered.
In total, the year saw an estimated 2,391 shootings with 2,948 shooting victims, police said. In 2017, there were 2,777 shootings and in 2016 there were 3,550. The department's statistics don't include killings on area expressways, police-involved shootings, self-defense killings or death investigations, however.
“Twenty eighteen represented another consecutive year where Chicago experienced fewer murders, shootings, robberies, burglaries and thefts since the same time last year,” Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said in a press conference Monday night.
Johnson touted the department’s “technology-driven approach,” partnerships with other agencies and illegal gun arrests across the city with the drop in crime numbers.
Just one minute after midnight Tuesday, the department reported its first illegal gun arrest of 2019 as a man was charged with possessing a stolen handgun in the South Side West Woodlawn neighborhood.
Darrell Rashawn Rhyme, 23, faces one felony count of unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and one felony count of possessing a stolen firearm, according a media release from Chicago police.
Last year, officers seized more than 9,600 illegal guns in the city, authorities said.
“The correlation between gun seizures and gun arrests and the decline in homicides and shootings just simply cannot be overlooked or understated,” Johnson said. “Now, while this is a step in the positive direction, there’s by no means room for celebration.”
While 2018 marked a decline in homicides for Chicago, it also marked a particularly difficult one for the Chicago Police Department.
“This has been one of the most tragic years in CPD’s history,” Johnson said.
The year saw the loss of several officers in the line of duty, including Commander Paul Bauer, Officer Samuel Jimenez, Officer Conrad Gary and Officer Eduardo Marmolejo.
“Quite frankly we are all able to stand here tonight because of what these men stood for and what they did for our city,” Johnson said.