CHICAGO — After a year of bad headlines and the glare of international attention, 2015 ended with more bad news for Chicago: Gun violence in the city went up in the past 12 months.
Homicides and shootings both spiked by 11 percent in 2015 compared to 2014 — leaving 468 people dead.
Here's a look at the number of shootings and homicides in Chicago over the past five years:
• 2011: 437
• 2012: 506
• 2013: 420
• 2014: 416
• 2015: 468
• 2011: 2,212
• 2012: 2,451
• 2013: 1,866
• 2014: 2,083
• 2015: 2,427
Chicago Police framed the year-end crime stats in the best light, with bosses saying for the fourth straight year, overall crime is down.
Since 2011, overall crime in Chicago dropped by more than 37 percent, according to Interim Supt. John Escalante, who was put in his post last month after Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired Garry McCarthy in the wake of the Laquan McDonald videotaped shooting.
“2015 was a year of hard work and real progress but also real challenges,” Escalante said in a statement. "I’m proud that we continue to see an overall reduction crime in Chicago; however we clearly have a lot of work ahead of us.”
Even before the Laquan McDonald videotape was released and protests moved through Downtown streets and even outside Emanuel's North Side home, shootings plagued Chicago in 2015.
In its year-end press release, Chicago Police focused on one positive statistic that involves juveniles: A 33 percent decline in juvenile murder victims in 2015, and a 14 percent decline in juvenile shooting victims.
Since 2011, statistics also show robberies are down by 32 percent; aggravated battery is down by 20 percent; burglaries are down by 51 percent; theft is down by 19 percent and motor vehicle thefts are down by 48 percent.
In an effort to decrease gun violence and other violent crime, Chicago Police focused on getting guns off the street, confiscating 6,908 illegal guns in 2015 — an average of one gun every hour and a half.
More police are now expected to hit the streets. In his 2016 budget, Mayor Rahm Emanuel unveiled plans to return 319 police officers to the street by hiring civilian staffers to work certain desk jobs.
But in the wake of the Laquan McDonald controversy, Chicago Police say they recognize public trust has been damaged. Going into the new year, police leaders have put together a list of measures to try to rebuild that trust.
Here’s a look at some of them:
The city will add 700 Tasers. By Jun. 1, 2016, every beat cop will be equipped with one and trained to use it.
New Policies Around Officer-Involved Shootings
Any officer involved in a shooting will be taken off the beat and put on desk duty for 30 days.
Expanded Use of Body Cameras
Chicago Police will expand use of body cameras in seven districts.
Independent Task Force on Police Accountability
After the firing of McCarthy, Mayor Emanuel announced plans to build an independent task force to check the system for accountability, oversight and training.
Diversity and Leadership
Chicago Police are working to increase minority participation in the written police exam to drive greater diversity among officers. Today, fifty percent of police chiefs and deputy chiefs are African-American, and more women are serving in executive leadership roles.
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