Chicago Murder Rate Dives—but Cash Running Out

Police overtime budget for the year almost gone
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 12, 2013 4:38 AM CDT

(Newser) – Chicago's murder rate this year has plummeted to a level not seen in 50 years following a horrific 2012 that saw more than 500 murders, the New York Times finds. Police tactics—including sending more than 400 officers a day to cover 20 small zones considered the most dangerous, and focusing on a few hundred people deemed most likely to become either a killer or a victim—are credited with the steep drop, but by the end of April, the city had already spent $31.9 million of the $38 million budgeted for police overtime.

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel says that money will be found to keep paying for the new tactics. "It’s sustainable," he says, "because it’s actually bringing the results I want to see." The police union, however, says some of the new efforts are just "smoke and mirrors" and it won't be possible to keep up such a strong police presence without expanding the force. Experts say something else might have contributed to the 34% fall in the murder rate: an exceptionally cold winter and spring that kept people off the streets. (Read more Rahm Emanuel stories.)

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