Chicago’s homicide totals stay on the decline

CHICAGO – Chicago appeared headed for its best April in more than 50 years with 23 homicides as of Tuesday evening, police statistics show.

The first four months were just as strong – with Chicago recording fewer than 100 homicides through April for the first time since 1963, the department said

The numbers come after a disastrous start to 2012 when violence soared in part because of an unseasonably warm start to the year and Chicago became a national symbol for gun violence.

The April total will be far below the average of about 40 homicides for the month over the last 10 years, a decade in which Chicago saw significant declines in its homicide rate from the 1990s.

At 23 homicides, April would mark the lowest total for the month since 1962, when 17 homicides were recorded, the department said.

Two of Chicago’s traditionally most violence-plagued police districts – Englewood on the South Side and Harrison on the West Side – had no homicides in April as of Tuesday evening. In April 2012, Harrison had five homicides and Englewood three.

The department began flooding the two districts with extra officers in 2012 to tamp down on violent crime in their neighborhoods.

For the first four months of 2012, homicides totaled 93, the lowest during that period since 99 in 1963, the department said. However, the department did not count two killings that took place within city limits on expressways because they are patrolled by the state police.

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