Chicago: 17 murders in February a 44-year low

Annie Sweeney, The Chicago Sun-Times

Copyright 2006 Chicago Sun-Times, Inc.
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February 2006 was the quietest month in the city -- at least for homicides -- since the early 1960s, Chicago Police officials said Thursday.

With 17 homicides reported, February marked the first time since April 1962 that fewer than 20 homicides were recorded, according to department statistics.

The total also marked an all-time low for a February since 1957, the first year monthly homicide totals were gathered. The previous low for the month was in 1961, when 19 homicides were recorded.

The good news came just one month after the Police Department was forced to announce bad news -- serious crime jumped nearly 12 percent in January, compared with January 2005. The number of homicides was 28, compared with 20 a year earlier. Aggravated assaults jumped 33 percent.

Officials said an unusually warm month -- temperatures were the third-highest on record for a January -- probably contributed to the spike.

The most recent news is more in keeping with the last two years, during which the homicide numbers have been cut by 25 percent, officials said.

"Everybody is doing their part,'' Deputy Supt. Charles Williams said. "I can't emphasize enough the police officer on the street. They are the ones bringing us the success. Day in and day out.''


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