Chicago says 438 dead in 2012 gun violence

Oct. 30, 2012 at 11:41 AM
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CHICAGO, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- Chicago recorded 438 homicides so far this year, three more than in all of 2011, making it one of the most violent cities in the United States, officials say.

In a recent killing, a 33-year-old father of four was shot and killed Monday, an innocent bystander in a turf war between gangs, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Tuesday.

The city's homicide toll has made headlines around the world, a fact that is proving a challenge to Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The total, however is nowhere near the record 790 recorded in 1974.

Emanuel said he's proud of milestones the police department has achieved toward cutting the crime rate.

Crime is down 9 percent overall, the largest drop on record, he said. Emanuel noted the city has torn down 200 buildings in a campaign to eliminate hangouts for criminals. He added that crime this month dropped 30 percent from 2011, one of the biggest declines on record.

The city's homicide rate has been declining for about two decades. In the early 1990s, Chicago recorded 900 homicides a year. Since 2004, the rate has been lower than 500 every year except 2008.

Compared to other major U.S. cities, Chicago's homicide rate is still high, the Chicago Tribune reported.

New York, which has more than twice the Chicago population, had 339 homicides through Oct. 21, a drop of nearly 20 percent from a year ago. Los Angeles reported 238 homicides through Oct. 20, a dip of 1 percent.

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