Chicago Cops Cut Back on 911 Responses They're weeding out less serious ones to focus on gun violence By John Johnson, Newser Staff Posted Feb 6, 2013 6:46 PM CST 45 comments Comments A Chicago police officer in a file photo. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast) (Newser) – One consequence of Chicag's rising murder rate: City police are now responding to fewer 911 calls in person to focus on gun violence. Dispatchers will reroute calls deemed less serious—car thefts, for example—to desk officers who will deal with them entirely by phone, reports the Wall Street Journal. The city hopes to handle about 151,000 police reports, about 30% of the total, over the phone this year, double last year's total. The shift to the controversial strategy, already employed to some degree by other big cities around the nation, comes as Chicago defied the national trend by racking up more than 500 homicides last year and more than than 40 in January of this year. The latter total includes the high-profile shooting of a teen girl who had performed at President Obama's inauguration.