Authorities in Chicago say homicides were down by 50 percent this January, though they note that historically low temperatures played a part in that figure.

The Chicago Police Department reported 21 homicides in the city last month, down from 43 last January. The latter figure was the city's highest for January since 2002. Police add that the number of shootings dropped as well.

However, as the Chicago Sun-Times mentions, there were 11 days with subzero temperatures last month, which police say definitely played a role in the murder rate's decline. Still, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said the statistics reflect "continued progress" across the department. In 2013, Chicago recorded its fewest homicides since 1965 just a year after the city topped 500 murders.

It's still too early to celebrate. According to RedEye's homicide tracker, half of the victims were teenagers and all, save for three, succumbed to gunshot wounds.

[via The Huffington Post, Chicago Sun-Times and RedEye]

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