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Chicago's homicides top New York City, Los Angeles in 2013

| Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

CHICAGO — Following a year in which Chicago led the nation in homicides with more than 500, the city's police department said on Wednesday that in 2013 the city recorded the fewest killings since 1965 and its overall crime rate fell to a level not seen since 1972.

The city, which ended the year with a 16 percent drop in crime, had the numbers of violent crimes, including robbery, aggravated battery and criminal sexual assault drop significantly — some by double digits— as well as drops in burglary and motor vehicle theft.

It has been the city's homicide rate, especially the toll on young people, that has captured national attention.

The year did not start promisingly, with more than 40 homicides recorded in January, including that of 15-year-old honors student Hadiya Pendleton, who was gunned down a mile from President Obama's South Side home. But the rate slowed considerably after that, and by the end of the year the city had recorded 415 homicides, 88 fewer than in 2012 and 20 fewer than in 2011.

One reason Chicago has been in the national spotlight is that in recent years it has recorded more homicides than larger cities such as New York City and Los Angeles. That was again true in 2013, with New York recording 333 homicides, the lowest number since comparable record-keeping began in 1963. And, according to the Los Angeles Times, as of Dec. 28, there were 250 homicides in LA, compared with 298 in the year before.

In Chicago, police said the number of shootings fell 24 percent from 2,448 to 1,864 between 2012 and 2013, and the number of shooting victims dropped from 3,066 to 2,328 for the same period.

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