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New York Police Say Murders to Hit 50-Year Low in City

Murders in New York City have dropped 19 percent in 2012 from last year and are set to mark the lowest total in 50 years, police said.

There were 414 murders through Dec. 23, beating the previous low of 471 reached in 2009, Paul Browne, a spokesman for the New York City Police Department, said today.

High-profile killings in New York this year included the August shooting near the Empire State Building where a man returned to his former workplace and shot a co-worker in the head. He was then shot and killed by police. In October, a 6-year-old girl and her 2-year-old brother were killed in the bathroom of their apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West side. Their nanny was charged with murder.

Barring a sudden spike in violence in the last week of the year, 2012 will mark the lowest murder total since comparable records began in 1963, Browne said. There were 2,262 murders in 1990, according to data posted on the police department’s website.

“We’re going to try to keep it low and not view it as an aberration,” Browne said. “Very few people ever thought it would go below 500.”

Browne attributed the drop to the police department’s focus on violent crimes and guns and the deployment of officers to areas experiencing the most violence. That use of officers, known as Operation Impact, concentrates police activity in areas where violent crime is spiking, Browne said.

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