Three months after Chicago notched the most murders in the nation, officials are touting a dramatic downturn in crime.

In the first quarter of the year, murders dropped 42 percent over the same period last year and shootings were down 27 percent -- reductions that authorities say were fueled by anti-gang initiatives.

"These numbers are progress but they are by no means victory," Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said in a statement.

McCarthy told NBC Chicago that the first-quarter numbers are "encouraging" but cautioned that there are no shortcuts to cracking down on crime.