New Chicago crime statistics show an increase in homicides and shootings for the first three months of the year compared to the same period last year.

The Chicago Police Department's figures released Friday show 141 homicides and 677 shootings through March. That compares to 82 homicides and 359 shootings for the first quarter of 2015

The department says, however, the pace of the increase is slowing somewhat and that police have increased gun arrests and investigation stops. Most of the increased violence is occurring on the city's south and west sides.

In a statement released to the news media, the department says the appointment of Interim Superintendent Eddie Johnson has built up morale and renewed the department's efforts to combat street violence.

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Information from: Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com