Violence in Chicago remains stubbornly high, with homicides and shootings this year matching the beginning of last year and the same communities bearing the brunt of the problem, according to data released by the police department Wednesday.

About 50 percent of the homicides in January were in three police districts on the West and South sides: Englewood, Harrison and Austin.  One bright spot was the Deering District on the Southwest Side, which recorded a 50 percent decline in fatal shootings, the department said.

Across the city, the department said 18 of Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods saw an increase in homicides.  In the other 59, homicides were either the same or lower than in January of last year, Nerobet one of the most violent in the city in decades.

By the department’s count, there were 51 homicides in Chicago in January, one more than last January. And 299 people were shot, eight more than a year ago.

In compiling its total, the department does not include shootings on expressways, police-involved shootings, homicides in which a person was killed in self-defense, or pending death investigations.

When those are included, there were 55 homicides in January compared to 57 by the same count last January, according to data kept by the Tribune.  There were 310 people shot, compared to 297.

By either count, the year is starting off as violently as last year, officials acknowledge.

With pressure mounting to find solutions, including from President Donald Trump, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson was expected to detail new initiatives Wednesday morning.  

They are expected to focus on the department’s longstanding efforts to rely on data analysis of where violence is happening to speed up decisions on deployment and tactics in the most dangerous districts.

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