CHICAGO — Though a national spotlight was on Chicago crime in 2013, police released numbers touting "historic lows in crime and violence" on the first day of the new year as murders are at their lowest point since the mid 1960s.
Last year saw the lowest murder rate since 1966, the fewest murders since 1965 and the lowest overall crime rate since 1972, police said Wednesday.
While officials stopped short of claiming victory over crime in Chicago, officials said 88 fewer murders than the previous year was a step in the right direction.
"While we are experiencing historic lows for crime and violence in Chicago, one victim is one too many and we know there's more work to be done," McCarthy said in a statement Wednesday.
The city also saw 738 fewer shooting victims and more than 12,000 fewer victims of crime overall than in 2012. According to police, every major crime category saw a drop from the previous two years — robberies, burglaries, motor vehicle theft and arson were at their lowest recorded levels.
Police districts with the biggest overall decline in crime include areas in Austin, Rogers Park and the Northwest Side. Murders declined in 18 of the city's 22 police districts, the largest of those reductions in areas such as Chicago Lawn, Grand Crossing, South Chicago and Rogers Park.
In 2013, McCarthy, with support from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, made illegal guns a central issue by holding a weekly gun recovery tour at police stations across the city. He vowed to continue pressing for changes in federal and state laws that would make the purchase and transfer of guns more difficult for those trafficking illegal weapons. He also called for tougher sentences for those who commit gun crimes.
"We can have the best policing in the world, but with too many illegal guns reaching our streets and penalties that put dangerous criminals right back on the streets we will continue to fight an uphill battle," McCarthy said.
Despite "significant progress" in crime reductions, the city continues to grapple violence in the streets. Two men were wounded, one killed, New Year's Eve and four men were shot by police within hours on New Year's Day.