McCarthy told council members that homicides so far in 2014 were down 7 percent from the same period last year, representing the lowest number for the period since 1963. The latest data on the police website listed 203 murders through July 20 compared with 215 in the same period last year.
The Chicago metropolitan area does not have the highest homicide rate per capita in the United States – New Orleans and Detroit are higher, for example. But it has recorded the highest total number of homicides in recent years.
Chicago, a city of 2.7 million, reported 414 murders in 2013, down from 503 in 2012.
McCarthy defended police in the wake of an audit by the Chicago Inspector General’s office this year that showed that police had undercounted some crimes in 2012 by counting as a single crime some incidents that actually had multiple victims.
In addition, Chicago magazine in April published an investigation that it said showed that some of the drop in homicides last year was due to reclassifying them as “noncriminal deaths” rather than homicides.