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Chicago Murders Down In July, But City Homicide Rate This Year Still Up Over 2011

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In a June 9, 2012 photo, the Chicago Police gang enforcement unit stops a car with four suspected gang members and arrests one of them on a warrant. In Chicago, homicides are up over 50 percent over last year. (AP Photo/Robert Ray)
In a June 9, 2012 photo, the Chicago Police gang enforcement unit stops a car with four suspected gang members and arrests one of them on a warrant. In Chicago, homicides are up over 50 percent over last year. (AP Photo/Robert Ray)

Chicago police announced Thursday that the city's homicide rate -- which has attracted international media attention -- saw its first monthly decline of the year so far in July.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the 49 homicides reported in Chicago in July were six fewer than the same month last year and marked an 11 percent decline.

The month was Chicago's third-least deadly July since 1987, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said that the city's declining homicide rate in July is a sign that the city's strategies to combat crime and target gang violence are working. But McCarthy admits that much work lies ahead.

"Great strides have been made toward realizing this goal, even as a unique gang problem has challenged our mission and dedicated efforts," McCarthy wrote to Ald. James Balcer (11th), according to CBS Chicago, about the recent numbers. "We are encouraged by improving benchmarks, but will not rest until we see drops that bring a high level of safety and quality of life to all areas of the city."

The city's homicide rate in 2012 remains 26.7 percent higher than last year through the end of July, the Tribune reports.

As of the end of the previous month, homicides in Chicago were up almost 40 percent over last year. Through the end of March, murders had spiked 60 percent.

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