Chicago homicides drop in February

March 1, 2013 at 7:50 AM
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CHICAGO, March 1 (UPI) -- Chicago logged the least number of homicides during the month of February -- 14 -- in at least a decade, police said.

By Thursday evening, Chicago had 15 fewer homicides than it did the same month last year and less than a third of the 43 killings in January, the Chicago Tribune reported.

That's the fewest number of homicides in any month since at least 2002, Chicago Police Department statistics show. The previous low for February came in 2006 with 17 homicides.

Information for years before 2002 was not available, the Tribune reported.

Arthur Lurigio, a Loyola University criminologist said the reduction in killings could be due to a variety of factors, including bad weather, a boost in officer presence on the streets and the high-profile killing of Hadiya Pendleton, 15, just days after she participated in inaugural events in Washington.

"Statistics fluctuate for a variety of reasons, but for us to be confident of crime reductions, they have to take place over the course of years," Lurigio said.

A spotlight has been placed on Chicago's recent uptick in violence since it exceeded 500 homicides in 2012, the most since 2008, the Tribune reported.

"This past month, Chicago has probably been given more pointed attention to the homicide problem that at any other time in history," Lurigio said. "If you combine all those elements, I think the light was shining brightly on the mostly young men who decide to use guns as a way to settle disputes."

"Why would we expect the weather to affect all of us but not the people who are committing crimes?" he asked.

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