Chicago Homicides Decrease By 50 Percent In January 2014 Amid Frigid Weather

Chicago Homicides Down 50 Percent In January -- But Can The Trend Last?

Chicago police say 2014 has gotten off to a markedly less bloody start than recent years in the Windy City, though they admit that the historic deep freeze was a factor in the reduced body count.

Police report 21 homicides took place in Chicago in January 2014, down exactly 50 percent from the 42 homicides reported during the same month last year, DNAinfo Chicago reports.

Shootings in Chicago were also down in January 2014 compared to January 2013, police say.

The Chicago Sun-Times notes that January in Chicago included 11 days with subzero temperatures, which a police spokesman said "is a factor" in the reduced killings, though it was not the only one.

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy described the January homicide numbers as proof of his department's "continued progress" on gun violence. Last year, Chicago police notched the city's lowest homicide rate since 1965. The city's murder clearance rate -- meaning, the number of killings solved -- also improved over 2012's rate, which had marked a 21-year low for the department and contributed to the city's bloody reputation.

McCarthy admitted in a statement that "much more work remains to be done and no one will rest until everyone in Chicago enjoys the same sense of safety."

According to the RedEye homicide tracker, the month's youngest homicide victim was 15-year-old Miguel Naverrette, who was fatally shot on Jan. 26 in the city's South Lawndale neighborhood. The oldest homicide victim was 56-year-old Willie Smith, who was gunned down in the South Shore neighborhood on Jan. 8.

The tracker reports 22 homicides in Chicago in January because it factors in information from the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office, which classifies homicides differently than the Chicago Police Department. The tracker notes nearly half (10 of 22) of the month's homicide victims were teenagers and all but three of the killings were gunshot fatalities.

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