Homicide Rates Fall In Major Cities

New York City and Los Angeles got through 1997 with the lowest number of homicides in decades.

Homicides plummeted to a 20-year low in Los Angeles and 30-year low in New York. Killings were also down in Chicago, New Orleans, Dallas, Baltimore, San Francisco and Newark, N.J.

Experts attributed the drop to an improving economy, better police work and fewer numbers of young adults most likely to commit crime.

Homicides in Los Angeles sank 20 percent this year to their lowest level since 1977. There were 566 homicides in the city as of Dec. 14, 143 fewer than for all of 1996.

As of Sunday, New York City’s death toll stood at 756, down from the 961 homicides a year ago and the lowest level since 1967. New York’s homicide total peaked in 1992 with 2,262 killings.

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