This year, New York City, which Mayor Bloomberg calls the safest big city in America, is set to have the fewest homicides since 1963. In Chicago, the number of homicides is up from 2011, with a shooting on Thursday pushing this year's total to 500.
NEW YORK — Even as New York City expects to hit a record low number of murders this year, Chicago has logged its 500th homicide for 2012.
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy issued a statement Friday calling the milestone a "tragic number that is reflective of the gang violence and proliferation of illegal guns that have plagued some of our neighborhoods."
The police department went back and forth Friday, first verifying the 500th killing, then backing off and saying an earlier death was still being investigated.
By late Friday, police confirmed 40-year-old Nathaniel Jackson had become the 500th homicide victim when he was fatally shot in the head outside a convenience store on the city's West Side.
The last time Chicago reached the 500-homicide mark was in 2008, when the year ended with 512 killings. Last year, city records show Chicago had 435 homicides.
Meanwhile, in New York, not only are murders at an all-time low, but shootings are at their lowest point in at least 18 years.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly credited police efforts as they announced the statistics Friday.
So far, there have been 414 homicides citywide this year. That's the lowest number since reliable record-keeping for homicides began in 1963. The previous low was 471, in 2009.
There have been 1,353 shootings this year. Comparable records for shootings go back to 1994. The prior low was 1,420 in 2009.
Bloomberg often calls New York the safest big city in America.
The description is based on FBI statistics for seven major crimes. New York has the lowest rate of crime per 100,000 residents among the 25 most populous U.S. cities.
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