Philly homicides on track for 45-year low

Police say homicides in long-deadly Philadelphia are on track to mark the lowest midyear total in nearly half a century.

The Philadelphia Inquirer says police had recorded 115 homicides as of Friday, with three days left in the six-month period — a 38 percent drop from the same period last year.

Officials credit a new emphasis on data-driven policing, a crackdown on gun crimes and sweeping changes in the criminal courts.

In particular, police and prosecutors have been targeting so-called hot spots — areas identified as centers of criminal activity.

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If the trend keeps up, the annual homicide toll would be lower than at any time since 1968.

The homicide decline reflects a general decline in violent crime, with violent robberies and serious assaults also down sharply.

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