Police: Compared to last year, gun violence down - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Police: Compared to last year, gun violence down

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Gun violence during the first half of 2013 has declined when compared to the same period of time last year, according to Chicago Police.

There have been 274 fewer shootings during the first six months of 2013 when compared to the same period in 2012, police officials said in the statement.

That amounts to a drop of about 25 percent when compared to 2012, according to the statement.

"There have been significant drops in murders, shootings and overall crime this year, but it's progress and not victory because one shooting or murder is unacceptable," Supt. Garry McCarthy said in the statement. "While to date we've had fewer shootings than in recent years and fewer murders than any year since 1965, there's more work to be done and we won't rest until everyone in Chicago enjoys the same sense of safety."

So far this year there have also been 76 fewer murders – a 29 percent drop – according to police spokesman Adam Collins.

Overall, crime is down about 14 percent so far and the department has seized more than 3,500 illegal guns this year, police said.

Though this may be the case, many say one shooting is almost too much and despite the better news citywide, murder actually increased in the mid-South Side Gresham Police District.  Still, total shootings did go down. Longtime residents sense the bloodshed mostly involved rival drug dealing street gangs with fewer innocent victims.

Gregory Bratton and Juanita Love, who have mourned far too many premature deaths, say they haven't had to do it this year, so far. It's one grim way to measure progress in Chicago's struggle against violence.

"I've been to less children's funerals this year than I did last year," says Bratton.

"Really, I haven't been to any funerals from the killings this year," Love adds.

In the Gresham police district where Ms. Love is a block club president, there was actually one more murder in the first six months of 2013 compared to 2012. The body count of the wounded dropped substantially. Police said total shootings were down 12% in the crime-wracked neighborhood.

At a news conference where he displayed some of the latest firearms seized from alleged gangsters, Gary McCarthy credited growing community cooperation and new intelligence on the deadly war among Chicago's rival street gangs.

"We can get in front of retaliatory shootings when one shooting occurs. Now it's not the example that we saw last year, when time and time again we could have four and six shootings going back and forth between two groups retaliating against each other," McCarthy said.

Community activists such as Gregory Bratton take a bit of the credit, too.  His not-for-profit "I Grow Chicago" runs 41 urban gardens across the city and will employ 600 young people this summer, including a dozen or so near 79th and Morgan.  The vicinity is a hotbed of gangs and illegal drugs.

"Locking a lot of these young dope dealers up. That's what's going on," says South Side resident Don Carr, who believes the arrests have had an effect on the murder rate.

On Tuesday, Governor Quinn is set to act on a bill that would allow Illinoisans to carry concealed firearms, which some argue would make residents in high-crime neighborhoods safer. He's expected to use his veto pen to rewrite portions of the proposal and the general assembly would then be able to act in special session next week.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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