The District is on track to record fewer than 100 homicides in a single year for the first time since 1963. D.C.'s homicide number approached 500 slayings per year during the 1990s; there have been 78 so far in 2012.
The drop reflects a downward trend in violent crime nationwide and is in line with declining homicides in other big cities, according to the Associated Press.
Experts cite a number of reasons for the trend, AP reports: more community policing is among them, as are advances in law enforcement technology such as the Spotshotter system, which helps police pinpoint gunfire very quickly. Improved medical care has also helped save the lives of many shooting victims.
But while the homicide rate is declining, crime in some other categories has risen this year from the previous year, including robberies and, as of mid-September, assaults with a deadly weapon.