"A year after this city drew new attention for soaring gun violence and gang bloodshed, creating a political test for Mayor Rahm Emanuel in President Obama’s hometown, Chicago has witnessed a drop in shootings and crime," reports Monica Davey. "Killings this year have dipped to a level not seen since the early 1960s."
A surge of police officers to the city's most dangerous areas, comprehensive analysis of the city's gangs, a focus by police on more than 400 individuals deemed "most likely to be involved in a murder, as a victim or an offender," and jobs and after school programs are among the efforts credited with helping to ease the crisis.
"Leaders of the police union, who describe some of the current efforts as 'smoke and mirrors,' caution that the dismal statistics of 2012 are being used to paint a falsely upbeat picture of 2013," notes Davey, "and say they doubt such intense policing efforts are financially sustainable in any major city without expanding the force."
"In some of the most crime-ridden neighborhoods — even those where statistics suggest clear improvement — some residents say they feel as unsafe as ever, and worry that the closing this fall of the largest number of elementary schools in recent memory may force schoolchildren to venture down blocks controlled by gangs to get to new schools."