Chicago Violence Drops in August, Police Prepare for Labor Day Weekend

On the heels of a month that last year became the deadliest month in decades, Chicago police say city violence is down so far this year, including in August.

According to police data, August saw 332 people shot and 50 people killed. That's a drop from the 74 people killed in July.

Last year, the month of August became the deadliest month in two decades with 90 murders in 31 days. By the end of the month, the city had recorded over 470 homicides for the year. 

Last month, the number of murders dropped by more than 47 percent compared to August 2016. 

In total, police say there have been 1,957 shootings so far this year, with 454 homicides. But the department's statistics don't include killings on area expressways, police-involved shootings, self-defense killings or death investigations. 

At least 37 shootings have been reported on Chicago expressways so far this year, according to Illinois State Police. 

A day after declaring "Chicago needs help!" on Twitter, President Donald Trump referenced Chicago's violence Friday in an address to the Conservative Political Action Conference.

The total number of homicides for the year have brought the city below the number recorded at this time in 2016, which went on to become one of the bloodiest years recorded in decades. 

The latest numbers come ahead of a long holiday weekend, but police say preparations are underway for keeping residents safe. 

As many as 1,300 additional officers will be patrolling the city over Labor Day weekend. They'll be dispatched based on previous trends and moved around the city as needed, authorities said. 

"More officers on the street will not only increase our presence, but offer more flexibility in our deployments," said First Deputy Superintendent Kevin Navarro. "We are increasing the number of officers on foot, bike patrol, and increasing traffic enforcement throughout the city... especially on Lake Shore Drive."

Leaders say part of the strategy to reducing holiday crime began weeks ago, as officers conducted felony warrant sweeps and began recovering weapons and drugs. 

"The bureau of organized crime completed a six week operation, in time for, and designed to remove violent street gang members from communities across the city in time for the Labor Day weekend," Chief of Organized Crime Anthony Riccio said.

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