The Latest: Chicago's top cop can't explain crime hike

AP News
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Posted: Feb 01, 2016 4:16 PM

CHICAGO (AP) — The Latest on an increase in homicides and shootings that Chicago experience in January (all times local):

2:40 p.m.

Chicago's interim police superintendent says he doesn't know why homicides and shootings climbed so dramatically in January compared with the same month last year.

But John Escalante said Monday that one concern is the significant decrease in the number of investigatory stops in January that coincides with a change in the policy regarding such stops. Officers now must fill out far lengthier documents than the brief "contact cards" they previously used.

Escalante says some officers also have expressed concern about their actions becoming the next "viral video" following the city's release in November of video of a white officer shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald.

Chicago had 29 homicides last January, compared with 51 this January.

Escalante didn't link the increase in homicides to unseasonably warm weather this January, though violent crime typically increases with warmer weather.

This item has been corrected to say that this January had 51 homicides and last January had 29.

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10:30 a.m.

Chicago police say the number of homicides in the city climbed dramatically in January to 51, in the bloodiest start to a year in at least 16 years.

The police department said Monday that there were 22 more homicides this January than in January 2015 and that the number of shooting incidents during the same period more than doubled to 242.

Chicago has been a focal point of gun violence since 2012, when the number of homicides passed 500. After falling the next two years, the number climbed again last year, raising new concerns about the bloodshed.

The rise in homicides comes as the department scrambles to regain public trust in the wake of the release of a video of a white police officer fatally shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald.

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