CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Police say the number of homicides fell significantly in February compared to the same month last year and that the total of 23 is half what it was in February in 2016 — the year when the city's surging gun violence captured the attention of the nation.

In a news release, the department says statistics show a continuation of a trend that began more than two years ago. The release that not only were there 17 fewer homicides for the month compared to February 2018 but the number of robberies, burglaries and motor vehicle thefts fell to levels not seen in nearly two decades.

The department says the falling crime numbers are largely due to the expansion of high-tech crime fighting tools and the hiring of hundreds of officers.