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Police investigate the scene of a shooting that took place outside of the Greyhound station at the 600 block of West Harrison Street, Monday, October 24, 2022.

Police investigate the scene of a shooting that took place outside of the Greyhound station at the 600 block of West Harrison Street, Monday, October 24, 2022.

Anthony Vazquez

The Rundown: Murders declined in Chicago

Happy Friday! This is our last newsletter of the year. Want to see how well you kept up with the news in 2022? Check out this quiz from The New York Times. Heads up: It’s tough.

1. Homicides and shootings are down this year in Chicago, but addressing violence ‘very much a work in progress,’ mayor says

At least 723 people have been murdered in Chicago this year as of Dec. 25. That’s a 13% decrease from last year, but still the most in any American city, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

The drop comes after shootings and homicides significantly climbed during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Amid a nationwide surge in violent crime, killings in Chicago rose 50% from 2019 to 2020.

Despite this year’s decline, officials say there is a long way to go. In an interview with the Sun-Times, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she hopes to “bring lasting peace” to historically violent neighborhoods by focusing on “gangs, guns and investments.”

While violent crime declined in 2022, the overall number of reported crimes rose this year by more than 12%, with vehicle thefts, burglaries and robberies all up from last year. [Sun-Times]

2. Six years of Trump’s tax returns were made public

The release by congressional Democrats is the culmination of a yearslong effort to learn more about former President Donald Trump’s finances.

The documents include individual returns from Trump and his wife Melania, as well as for his businesses. The filings show more than 150 of Trump’s entities listed negative qualified business income for 2020.

Trump broke longstanding tradition when he did not release his returns during his campaign for the presidency. Once elected, he waged a legal battle to keep them secret. But last month the Supreme Court refused to keep the Treasury Department from turning them over to the Ways and Means Committee. The committee voted along party lines last week to make the returns public.

Trump said in a statement the release is “going to lead to horrible things for so many people.” [AP]

The New York Times has a running list of key takeaways from the release, including that Trump made no charitable donations in 2020. [NYT]

3. Mayor Lori Lightfoot is seeking an additional $54 million in state funding to help migrants

In a letter obtained by the Chicago Tribune, Lightfoot asked state legislators for the funds for “migrant services,” citing the increase in people arriving in Chicago, including those “who have been compelled to leave Texas by bus transport.” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for months has been sending migrants on buses to sanctuary cities like Chicago.

Lightfoot told lawmakers that Gov. JB Pritzker’s administration sent a letter of its own to the city, saying the state would “no longer be able to support city migrant services efforts as of February 1, 2023.”

According to the mayor’s letter, Chicago currently has 1,531 migrants in its care and is running 11 shelters that provide meals, clothing and showers.

Lightfoot wrote that the city has made a multimillion-dollar investment to help migrants, but without state assistance, the funds “will not be nearly sufficient to address this ongoing need.” [Tribune]

4. Cook County will still end cash bail this weekend, despite a judge’s ruling

A Kankakee County judge ruled this week that the part of the SAFE-T Act that ends cash bail is unconstitutional. However, that decision does not stop Chicago and surrounding suburbs from moving forward with eliminating it. Instead, the ruling only applies to the 64 counties where sheriffs and prosecutors filed lawsuits against the provision of the massive criminal justice reform law.

Cook County leaders were quick to defend ending cash bail come Jan. 1. In a joint statement, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and the offices of the public defender and the circuit court clerk said they would proceed with “full implementation of the SAFE-T Act on January 1, 2023 as planned,” the Sun-Times reports.

“We look forward to welcoming in this historic reform for Cook County in the new year and are confident the rest of the state will join us soon,” the statement reads.

The counties unaffected by the judge’s ruling account for about two-thirds of Illinois’ total population and include Cook, Lake and DuPage. [Sun-Times]

5. The best shows and movies of the year

‘Tis the season for “best of” lists. If you’re staying home this weekend and need something to watch, there are no shortage of suggestions, including this list of shows you might have missed this year from the Washington Post.

WaPo TV reporter Bethonie Butler recommends checking out shows like Bad Sisters on Apple TV+, From Scratch on Netflix and Riches on Prime Video. [WaPo]

If movies are more your speed, the Sun-Times’ Richard Roeper looked back on 2022’s highs and lows. [Sun-Times]

NPR also has a massive year-end list of TV and movie viewing suggestions, sortable by platform. [NPR]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Here are the laws that go into effect in Illinois on Jan. 1. [Tribune]

  • Chicago Housing Authority pledges $100 million in updates at a senior living facility that was without heat this week. [Tribune]

  • Southwest Airlines resumes a relatively normal schedule. [AP]

  • The Wicker Park Walgreens with its social-media famous “vitamin vault” is closing. [Block Club Chicago]

Oh, and one more thing …

If you’re among the people who are thinking about giving up drinking in the new year: Welcome! Before I stopped drinking for good in 2021, I observed Dry January a few years as a sort of trial run.

If you’re feeling intimidated by getting started, NPR has some pointers. I particularly like the second tip on their list: Make a plan to do something else with your time.

“Do some yoga, go for a walk, watch something funny,” suggests Aaron White of the National Institutes of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “In other words, rather than just take away the behavior, replace the behavior with something that is healthier and more sustainable.”

Tell me something good ...

On behalf of all of us here at WBEZ, a big hearty thanks to you for reading The Rundown this year. We’ll see you in the new year. Hunter is back Tuesday.

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