The news is better in Chicago, but only 11% better.
Homicides continued to decline this year in Chicago through September, including homicides of school-age children, according to Police Department statistics.
Homicides fell 11 percent through the first nine months of 2009 compared with the same period a year ago, department officials said.
Through Sept. 30, there had been 348 slayings, down from 393 for the same period last year.
Through Sept. 15, killings of youths between the ages of 6 and 18 declined by 14.5 percent compared with the same period last year.
Last week, police Supt. Jody Weis trumpeted a 47 percent decline since last year in homicides involving youths — but that figure included those between ages 9 and 19.
Despite the decline in youth slayings in Chicago, the issue has grabbed the spotlight since the fatal beating of 16-year-old Derrion Albert near Fenger High School after classes on Sept. 24.
The city and nation have been riveted by the startling video of the beating, in which several teenagers can be seen wielding large planks of wood in a melee involving more than 50 youngsters.
In response, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Eric Holder came to Chicago last week to meet with students and city officials about youth violence.
Was this a quick move on Mayor Daley’s part to quell the unease surrounding the death of Derrion Albert? You bet. 11% means that forty-five fewer people were killed in Chicago this year compared to last year.
That is significant.
Let’s hope it lasts…