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    New York's homicides drop by 19.6% while Chicago's homicides rise by 15.6%

    "The number of murders this year will be lower than any time in recorded city history," Bloomberg said Friday in a statement announcing that homicides in the city this year had fallen to 414 the fewest since it started keeping such statistics in 1963.About the same time Friday, Chicago police were trying to get the message out that their city hadn't actually recorded its 500th homicide this year, as was being reported. A few hours later, they had to backtrack and acknowledge that, yes, in fact, "the city has seen its 500th homicide for 2012."That's right: There were more homicides this year in Chicago than in New York, a city with three times the population. That means Chicagoans were proportionally 3.7 times more likely to be homicide victims than New Yorkers were in 2012:
    New York didn't just reduce homicides it reduced them by 19.6 percent. And Chicago didn't just have more homicides it had 15.6 percent more.Both figures are extraordinary. Last year, homicides fell by about 4 percent in New York, exactly in line with other U.S. cities with populations greater than 1 million, according to FBI figures. They fell in Chicago by just less than three-quarters of 1 percent.While there's always the chance that the changes are just statistical flukes, two concrete factors appear to be at least partly responsible: money and priorities.
    New York's police budget held steady in fiscal 2012, at about $4.6 billion.Emanuel, facing a $300 million budget deficit, by contrast cut $67 million from the $1.3 billion police budget a 5 percent reduction that was down from his original proposal to cut police funding by 15 percent.While Emanuel and Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said the cuts would help the police department become more efficient, Jens Ludwig, a criminal justice expert at the University of Chicago, said it was difficult "to think that you could have budget cuts like these and have no impact on crime and other aspects of public life."

    The other factor is commitment, Ludwig said. "New York City seems to be exceptionally focused on getting illegal guns off the street," he said.
    "New York City has taken that idea seriously for illegal gun carrying, recognizing that illegal guns on the street greatly increase the risk that an argument turns into a murder," he said.Kelly, the New York police commissioner, stressed that point Friday, saying his officers had taken 8,000 weapons "out of the hands of people we stop, 800 of them illegal handguns." "We're preventing crimes before someone is killed and before someone else has to go to prison for murder or other serious crimes," he said.
    Bloomberg made a similar point, singling out what he called the city's renewed commitment to Operation Impact, a 2003 state initiative that pairs new police recruits with veteran officers in specific high-crime areas. The city's participation "reflects our commitment to doing everything possible to stop gun violence," he said.Left unmentioned was the city's controversial stop-and-frisk policy, which allows officers to search someone as he or she exits a private building if they have a "reasonable suspicion" that the person is likely to commit a crime.
    Tale of two cities: Homicides plummet in New York, leap in Chicago - U.S. News

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    Michael P. Gordon E.O.W 08 Aug 2004

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