Demonstrators confront police officers during a protest in reaction to the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald in Chicago, Nov. 27, 2015. Laquan McDonald, 17, was fatally shot by Jason Van Dyke, a Chicago police officer, in October 2014. Reuters

Arrests in Chicago, Illinois, were down 28 percent from last year. Police issued roughly 50,000 arrests through mid-December of this year compared to 69,000 in 2015. The city is also on track to have the lowest number of arrests since 2001, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Saturday.

Chicago’s up-to-date arrest total in 2016 is less than half of the number made in 2010; the year prior to current Mayor Rahm Emanuel taking office.

Arrests have fallen in each major crime area, including theft and aggregated assault with a handgun. Narcotic-related arrests decreased more than any other type of crime, which the Sun-Times linked to new legislation that decriminalized the possession of less than 10 grams of marijuana introduced earlier. Police in Chicago were projected to make roughly 4,200 arrests for misdemeanor pot possession in 2016, compared to 20,000 five years ago.

The police’s main concern had been to curb the level of gun violence that has devastated the city, Superintendent Eddie Johnson told the Chicago Sun-Times. He said he also hoped to improve relations between members of the community and local law enforcement.

The drop in arrests has come in the wake of a year where more than 700 homicides were reported throughout the city. Chicago had not witnessed a year with more than 700 homicides since 1998 when the city saw 704, the Chicago Tribune reported earlier this month. In contrast, the city saw fewer than 500 homicides last year.

Johnson said the department wanted to make sure they were “arresting the right people — for the right reasons. But we have to focus on what’s really hurting Chicago right now, and that is the gun violence,” he continued. “I’m not a fan of mass incarceration. But if you decide to pick up a gun, pull the trigger and shoot somebody, I don’t care what your rap is, you should go to jail for it.”

Chicago witnessed 207 people wounded and 32 killed at the hands of mass shooting incidents since 2013, which was significantly greater than another other U.S. city, the Washington Post reported in 2015. The number of people shot in Chicago in 2015 was greater than 2,300. Compared to other major U.S. cities with large populations, New York saw 1,041 shootings in 2015, and Detroit had 1,054 non-fatal shootings and 300 homicides that year.

At least 60 people, including two teenage girls, were shot in Chicago over the recent holiday weekend, according to local reports Tuesday. And 11 of those incidents were fatal.

Johnson blamed the streak of violence over the weekend on “anti-police” sentiments that have encouraged disenfranchised gang members to resort to lethal measures during a press conference Monday.

“You know when they feel public will speak out for them, and not the police officers, that's giving them the power to go out and do what they do," said Johnson.