For the 22nd straight month, the Chicago Police Department announced Sunday, crime in the city has dropped.
This is good.
Police Supt. Jody Weis tells us this is because of the "excellent police work of the men and women of our police force."
This is bad.
If there is one thing any veteran police reporter can tell you, it's that smart top cops go easy on grabbing the credit for drops in crime for the most obvious of reasons -- that don't want to have to accept the blame when crime rates go back up.
And crime rates, sooner or later, always go back up. Short-range gains matter less than long-range trends.
Good police work can be a significant factor in keeping crime under control and even bringing down the rate, but so much more goes into those numbers -- the economy, the weather, the price of pot or heroin, changes in the population and much more.
Two important observations tend to get overlooked:
Chicago is a pretty safe town to live in, except in its poorest neighborhoods. So tourists can relax, even as a city that cares about all its residents -- especially its children -- works to reduce crime rates in every corner of town.
And, observation No. 2: Per capita crime rates in Chicago, especially for murder, may be declining somewhat, but they still outpace other big cities, most notably New York and Los Angeles.
So nobody's got a thing to brag about.
Still, good news.