Chicago credits technology for its drop in murders, shootings in 2017

Chicago police officers on patrol
(Image credit: Joshua Lott/AFP/Getty Images)

Chicago recorded 650 homicides and 2,785 shootings in 2017, according to Chicago Police Department statistics released Monday. That's a drop from 2016's 771 homicides and 3,550 shootings, but still more murders than in New York City and Los Angeles combined. Chicago police credit new technology for the significant decline and are optimistic that continued rollout of Strategic Decision Support Centers and their accompanying high-tech equipment will lead to further reductions. So far, six of Chicago's districts have the centers, which feature technology that allows police to instantly pick up and pinpoint gunshots and alert officers through smartphone apps and in-car computers.

"I am proud of the progress our officers made in reducing gun violence all across the city in 2017," Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in a statement. The Rev. Marshall Hatch, whose West Side church is in one of Chicago's most violent neighborhoods, was less impressed. "You still have to start with the fact that 600 people dead in Chicago is a hell of a lot of people to be dead in one year," he told The Associated Press, adding that he's concerned police will think adding new officers and technology will solve rampant gang violence and other problems caused by social conditions he says are best addressed through increasing social services.

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