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Chicago's troubling murder stats appear to be headed the right way.
Spring was particularly bloody in Chicago last year with a 60 percent spike in murders and a rise in nonfatal shootings over the previous year. This year, though, violent crime is trending in the other direction.
On Tuesday evening, the Chicago Police Department released figures showing a 42 percent decline in murders between January and the end of April, compared to the same period of 2012.
It will be the first time the department reported fewer than 100 murders for the first four months of the year since 1963, officials said.
There have been 93 murders this year compared to 161 over the same period last year, according to the department. Nonfatal shootings were down 27 percent over the first four months of 2013.
"Through our work with the community, our comprehensive policing strategy and the hard work of our officers, we are continuing to make progress in reducing crime in Chicago," said Supt. Garry McCarthy.
Under McCarthy, officers have been moved from administrative jobs and citywide strike forces to beat patrols to put them in closer daily contact with the residents. Hundreds of other cops have been assigned to "area saturation teams" that cover five to nine districts each but don't roam the city like the old strike forces.
Also in recent months, McCarthy has offered overtime to hundreds of additional cops to work in the toughest neighborhoods on their days off.
The anti-violence group CeaseFire also is seeking credit for the reductions in violence. CeaseFire, which won a $1 million deal with the city last year to "interrupt" shootings, said murders are down in the areas covered by its contract. In a letter posted earlier this week on Huffington Post, CeaseFire Chicago Director Tio Hardiman said: "What if Chicago could go several days and months without one homicide? This may be wishful thinking but anything is possible."
Some point to differences in weather as a major factor in this year's lower murder totals. More people were outside - where most shootings happen - in the early months of 2012 when record temperatures were posted. The first four months of this year were much cooler.
(Sun Times, Page 16) Source: Chicago Sun Times
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced Monday that more than 18,000 Chicago young adultes ages 16 to 24 will gain valuable job training and work experience this summer as part of the 2013's One Summer Chicago program.
Additionally, over 190,000 opportunities to participate in educational and recreational opportunities will be made available for young Chicagoans, ages 6 to 24. This represents an increase in the number of jobs and opportunities available to Chicago young from 2012.
"We want children and young adults to be safe and engaged this summer by taking full advantage of all of the excellent work, educational and recreational opportunities that we have assembled," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "Young students working on building their careers or seeking higher education will have unprecedented opportunities to learn from the best local businesses, corporations and organizations and to develop the type of knowledge and skills that will allow them a brighter future."
"One Summer Chicago is a joint effort between the City and County to provide Chicago's youth with summer job opportunities and activities designed to enhance personal development and learning in a safe environment," Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said. "Mayor Emanuel and I recognize the importance of offering young people productive alternatives to help them succeed."
To help parents and children find and take advantage of these opportunities in the third year of this program, the city of Chicago website - www.OneSummerChicago.org - is available for youth to apply for jobs through a common application and provides information to parents on how to connect with more than 190,000 other recreational activities. The site has details on jobs and internships for youth.
Online registration and application for summer employment is available now through May 31, 2013. The site also helps direct families to summer camps, organized sports programs, summer field trips to cultural institutions and other noteworthy locations across the city.
For more information concerning programs related to One Summer Chicago and all affiliated summer programs go to: www.onesummerchicago.org.
(Chicago Defender, Page 4) Source: City of Chicago
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Sunday said he would re-introduce a measure that woudl require criminal and mental health background checks for gun buyers at shows and online, saying if lawmakers read the bill, they will support it.
(Sun Times, Page 16) Source: Sun Times
Mayor Rahm Emanuel backpedaled Sunday on his decision to take away free water rights to non-profit organizations, putting forth a compromise proposal that would restore the perk to groups with assets under $1 million.
"We wanted to make sure the little guys, the churches and other groups that keep their doors open as safe havens but are struggling financially, could get this exemption to keep up their good works," said Ald. Howard Brookins (21st) one of several aldermen who worked on the proposal with Emanuel's office.
Under the new proposal, most other non-profits worth more than $1 million, would get discounts, but not free water.
Non-profit groups with net assets between $1-$10 million will be eligible for a 60 percent exemption from water payments. Groups with net assets between $10-$250 million will be eligible for a 25 percent exemption. Groups with more than $250 million would receive no exemption. And public museums will maintain their 20 percent exemption regardless of net asset level.
The revised ordinance could be voted on as soon as May 8.
In 2011, Emanuel eliminated the free water perk for hospitals, churches, universities and other nonprofits as a budget-balancing measure.
(Sun Times, Page 4) Source: Chicago Sun Times
A Walter Payton College Prepatory High School principal says internal leadership problems, not "racist tendencies," led to his baseball team forfeiting a game Saturday in Roseland. The explanation came after a series of media reports, which the principal says are largely inaccurate, said that parents feared for their athletes' safety on the South Side.
(Red Eye, Page 7) Source: Red Eye