CHICAGO – The number of homicides in Chicago in October was significantly lower than during October 2016, but 2017 still will be one of the most violent years in recent memory for the city.
The Chicago Police Department said Wednesday that 53 homicides occurred in October compared to 80 in October 2016. It said 228 shooting incidents happened last month compared to 353 in October of last year.
The total homicide count for the year is 570 so far. The city had 631 killings by this time last year.
Chicago, which is the third-largest city in the U.S., has seen 2,445 shooting incidents so far this year compared to 3,000 by this time last year, department statistics show.
It's unlikely that 2017 will end with 762 Chicago homicides as it did in 2016. The 762 killings was the highest total for the city since 1997 and more than the combined 2016 totals of Los Angeles and New York City.
However, Chicago is almost certain to pass the 600 mark for homicides for just the second time in 14 years. And with two months left in the year, the number of shooting incidents has already eclipsed the total for all of 2015.
Police said some of the drop for October can be attributed to an expanded use of technology that helps officers respond to shootings more quickly and better identify areas where violence might occur.
They said they are encouraged by the fact that there are fewer shooting incidents in 18 of the 22 police districts compared to last year.
They also point out that in seven of those districts — including a historically violent district on the city's South Side — the number of shooting incidents is lower than during the same period in 2015.
"This is certainly not victory," Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in a statement, "but it is significant progress in the right direction."