>> Gun violence in major US cities fell in 2017 as police combined the latest crime fighting technology with a friendlier face-to-face approach to policing. Law enforcement officials say this strategy has been so successful in reducing the homicide rate in popular cities like New York, that crime ridden ones like Chicago are mimicking the strategy with early signs of success.
Reuters correspondent Daniel Trotta.>> For the past 20 years or more, police have been using a system called COMSTAT, which is basically an advanced computer system that enables them to analyze data better. In more recent years, other software has rolled out including ShotSpotter, which is a gun fire detection system.
Police are now able to spot crimes in real time, direct cameras, direct police resources to where they're happening in the moment, reducing response times, which has a positive effect.>> On Friday, the New York Police Department reported fewer than 300 homicides in 2017, that's dramatically down from the record 2,000 killings back in 1990
>> No one believed it was possible to get under 300 murders.>> Public uproar over police shootings of unarmed black men across the United States in recent years has also put pressure on police departments to adopt a different approach to tackling urban crime.>> Stop killing black people!
>> Neighborhood policing or community policing attempts to establish a more friendly posture in high crime areas, getting cops to talk to people, get out of their squad cars and engage with the public rather than be the enemy.>> In New York, it marks a major change from its previous tactic known as stop and frisk, which allowed police to pat down almost anyone deemed suspicious.
>> In Chicago, America's third largest city, the twin approach of community policing and technology helped send its annual homicide rate down by double digits last year. The number of killings though was still higher than the two biggest US cities combined, New York and Los Angeles.