Shootings in New York down this year; why not Chicago?

New York’s mayor is boasting about something Chicagoans want: killings and shootings in the Big Apple are down 17 percent so far this year, compared to 2016.

The NYPD counted 80 shootings last month -- nearly that many were killed in Chicago, a city with fewer people.

When shootings and killings in New York spiked up in 2015, there were angry complaints the city's first-term mayor had handcuffed his cops by ending previous, aggressive stop and frisk policies. Bill de Blasio’s bragging now.

“We have now the safest year on record. And we see it consistently across crime categories. We’ve talked a lot before and I like to repeat it, 'cause it's true. New York City's the safest big city in America,” de Blasio said.

Some New Yorkers are skeptical, claiming police brass under report some categories of crime. But it's hard to hide homicide. And few challenge NYPD’s 2016 count of 162, as of Monday. New York expects 300 by the end of the year. A Chicago website already counts 417 killings here.

“What’s driving it? It’s very clear. The gun strategy that we put in place over the last couple years, combined with the investigative model is really paying dividends,” said Dermot Shea.

The gun theory echoes Mayor Emanuel and Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson. Research reveals the rate of non-gun homicide in New York and Chicago is virtually identical. Homicide with guns? Five times higher in Chicago than New York.

Gun offenders in New York face a minimum 3-1/2 years in prison. In Chicago? Less than a year, with some until recently getting probation. And the NYPD "clears," or solves, about 68 percent of that city's killings.

While Chicago has moved recently to increase the number of detectives on the police force, it does a pretty poor job of arresting the killers. Only 20 percent to 30 percent of homicides are cleared, to use police jargon. That means that, in any given year, hundreds of killers are still free on the streets.

A spokesman for Mayor Emanuel said another difference is it's "too easy" for Chicago criminals to buy guns in Indiana and Wisconsin. States surrounding New York make it harder to get guns.