Preliminary numbers indicate that homicides in Chicago fell by about 100 last year compared to 2017, though the total again eclipses the number of homicides in Los Angeles and New York combined, according to data released Tuesday. Police in Chicago, the nation's third largest city, report that 561 homicides were committed between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2018. That compares to 660 homicides in 2017 and more than 770 in 2016, which marked a 19-year high that put a national spotlight on Chicago's persistently high rates of gun violence, reports the AP. As of about mid-December, New York reported 278 homicides and Los Angeles had 243. Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson has previously said "a reasonable goal" would be to one day get the annual number of homicides to below 300.
Chicago police credit the decreases in part to the addition of more than 1,000 new officers in recent years. Police also cite the creation of high-tech nerve centers in 20 out of 22 police districts, where officers rely on gunshot-detection technology and predictive analytics that help quickly get police to areas where violence is most likely to erupt. While homicide numbers dropped in many districts in Chicago in 2018, they went up in several neighborhoods on the city's South and West Sides. Those areas, including Englewood and West Garfield Park, have been plagued for years by gun and gang-related violence. (Read the full story for more on some of the 2018 victims, including 12-year-old She'nyah O'Flynn.)