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Murders Up In April, But Shootings Down Overall This Year

CHICAGO (CBS) -- More than 1,000 people have been shot in Chicago so far this year, and the city has had nearly 200 murders, but Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said he saw some good news in April's crime statistics.

According to the Chicago Police Department, shootings were down 13 percent for the first four months of the year, compared to the same time in 2016.

"The shooting incidents are down a little bit over 100 from the same time last year, so that's some encouraging sign. The number of shooting victims is actually down, so if we can keep trending in that direction, then we should be setting ourselves up for a pretty good year," he said.

While shootings were down, murders in April were up compared to last year. In April 2016, there were 36 murders in Chicago. There were 45 murders in April 2017.

However, with the number of shootings down overall this year, Johnson said the number of murders also should go down over the course of the year.

Johnson said a new crime tip website and "ShotSpotter' gunshot detection technology in the Englewood and Harrison districts – which typically have the most violent crime – have made a difference.

"We put those new strategic support centers in both of those districts, so a lot of that technology is helping us be more proactive in the way that we deploy. So it gives those commanders real-time information so that they can change their deployments," he said.

Earlier this year, the department created two new Strategic Decision Support Centers in the Englewood and Harrison districts. The so-called "situation rooms" will be staffed 24 hours a day, and allow officers to monitor ShotSpotter gunshot sensors, a network of surveillance cameras, the locations of police units, and incoming calls for service. The screens are updated every 30 seconds.

Police officials plan to add similar support centers at the Deering, Austin, Gresham, and Ogden districts this spring.

The department also has begun the process of making good on a plan to add 1,000 more officers to the force over the next two years. A new police exam was held at the beginning of April. Physical exams, background checks, psychological evaluations, and other required testing will follow over the next few months. Approximately 16,000 people took the written test, administered on April 1 and 2.

Illustrating that crime can happen to anyone, Johnson's unmarked SUV was ransacked outside his Bridgeport home over the weekend. The superintendent said nothing was stolen, but the break-in served as a "lesson learned" to lock all his doors.

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