Chicago Posts Lowest First Quarter Homicide Totals Since 1958

How Chicago Is Shedding The 'Murder Capital' Reputation

Chicago Police posted encouraging news about the city's once-staggering homicide rate Tuesday and continued a cautiously optimistic trend that law enforcement is stemming the tide of violence in the Windy City.

Citing newly-released police data, the Sun-Times reports Chicago's first quarter of 2014 tallied the lowest number of homicides since 1958. The numbers reflect six fewer homicides than the same period in 2013, and 55 fewer homicides since the same time in 2012.

"This is now the sixth consecutive quarter that we've had significant reductions of murder and violence in the city," Chicago's Police Supt. Garry McCarthy told ABC Chicago in an interview Tuesday. "We're pleased, but of course we have a lot of work to do."

Though the homicide rate has improved from years past, the homicide total is already past 50 in the first three months of the year.

In the past weekend alone, there was one homicide and 13 shooting victims in a 36-hour span -- largely on the city's South and West Sides, the Tribune reports.

McCarthy acknowledged to ABC that even in crime-heavy areas where incidents are down, "perception lags to [the] reality of crime."

"You don't reduce the murder rate in Lincoln Park the way that you do in Roseland," McCarthy said. "Roseland is where we're seeing great gains, but sometimes people don't feel that. When the murder rate goes down from ten to eight, do you feel 20 percent better? No. We understand it."

The city's top cop said crime across the board is down, attributing the progress to better police training and community-based initiatives aimed at keeping kids off the street.

McCarthy also touted the recovery of 1,300 illegal guns during the first three months of the year while taking a jab at the state's new concealed carry law.

McCarthy and Mayor Rahm Emanuel both staunchly opposed concealed carry in Chicago, prompting the top cop to point out the department made the first arrest in Illinois of a concealed carry permit holder after the man allegedly threatened to shoot someone in a rent money dispute.

"We're going to have tragedies from this," McCarthy said of concealed carry in Chicago. "The answer to gun violence is not more guns -- it's less guns."

Note: A previous headline on this article misstated the year of the previous record-low homicide rate as 1956.

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