Overall Chicago crime down in 2006, homicides up

Associated Press
Published January 19, 2007, 11:05 PM CST

CHICAGO -- Overall crime in Chicago fell in 2006 for the 15th straight year, though homicides rose slightly, statistics released Friday by the Chicago Police Department show.

Violent crime fell 2.5 percent in 2006 compared to the year before, while property crime dropped 2.4 percent, the figures from the department indicate.

The overall drop in crime was 2.4 percent, with the largest decrease in criminal sexual assaults -- which fell 10.2 percent.

There were 467 homicides in Chicago last year compared to 450 in 2005, a 3.8 percent increase police blamed on gang turf wars. A feud between the Traveling Vice Lords and New Breeds street gangs alone claimed as many as 19 lives in 2006, police said.

The broader decrease bucked a national trend, police said, citing FBI data showing violent crime rose 3.7 percent across the country in the first six months of last year.

First Deputy Superintendent Dana Starks attributed Chicago's declines, in part, to better use of technology and better cooperation with neighborhood groups.

"We are proud of our progress, and will continue to enlist the support of the community in our fight to make Chicago's streets safer," Starks said.

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