Chicago’s murder rate soared in 2016 to a 20-year high—surpassing New York and Los Angeles combined. There’s now guarded optimism that law enforcement has stemmed the violence.

The Chicago Police Department reported a decline in shootings across the nation’s third largest city over Memorial Day weekend, when there’s usually a surge in violence, The New York Times reports.

There were 18 fewer shootings in Chicago from Friday through Monday compared to last year’s holiday weekend, 46 this year compared to 64 in 2016.

Chicago Police First Deputy Superintendent Kevin Navarro said on Tuesday that the department sees an overall downward trend in shootings, The Times reported.

On Tuesday, the department said there is a 4 percent decrease of homicides in 2017 compared to the same time last year. The number of shootings also declined by more than 14 percent.

The Times said the department boosted its force by 1,300 extra cops for the holiday weekend. They arrested hundreds of people and confiscated dozens of weapons in raids on street gangs and illicit nightclubs.

Many applaud the aggressive policing but also fear it will add to the tense relationship between law enforcement and communities of color. In January, the U.S. Department of Justice found a pattern of civil rights violations and abuses in the Chicago Police Department’s tactics mostly in Black and Latino communities.

SOURCE:  New York Times

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