Chicago Murder Rate Dives—but Cash Running Out

Police overtime budget for the year almost gone
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 12, 2013 4:38 AM CDT
Chicago Murder Rate Dives—But Cash Running Out
The Chicago Police gang enforcement unit stops a car with four suspected gang members.   (AP Photo/Robert Ray)

Chicago's murder rate this year has plummeted to a level not seen in 50 years following a horrific 2012 that saw more than 500 murders, the New York Times finds. Police tactics—including sending more than 400 officers a day to cover 20 small zones considered the most dangerous, and focusing on a few hundred people deemed most likely to become either a killer or a victim—are credited with the steep drop, but by the end of April, the city had already spent $31.9 million of the $38 million budgeted for police overtime.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel says that money will be found to keep paying for the new tactics. "It’s sustainable," he says, "because it’s actually bringing the results I want to see." The police union, however, says some of the new efforts are just "smoke and mirrors" and it won't be possible to keep up such a strong police presence without expanding the force. Experts say something else might have contributed to the 34% fall in the murder rate: an exceptionally cold winter and spring that kept people off the streets. (More Rahm Emanuel stories.)

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