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California: Despite Record Drop in Homicide Rate, Latinos are Majority of Victims

SEAL BEACH, CA - OCTOBER 12:  Police investigate a murder scene at Salon Meritage hair salon after a man shot nine people, killing eight of them, on October 12, 2011 in Seal Beach, California. Despite the killing spree, homicides in the state are down, according to a report. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

SEAL BEACH, CA - OCTOBER 12: Police investigate a murder scene at Salon Meritage hair salon after a man shot nine people, killing eight of them, on October 12, 2011 in Seal Beach, California. Despite the killing spree, homicides in the state are down, according to a report. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)  (2011 Getty Images)

Latinos are killed more than any other racial group in California.

That's according to a new report by the California Department of Justice, which shows Hispanics were victims in 44.5 percent of the state's homicides; the racial group also accounted for 48.7 percent of arrestees.

Gangs and drugs were the top contributing factors, cited in 39.5 percent of killings.

According to updated 2010 figures, the report found that overall, there were 4.7 reported homicides for every 100,000 people. That's a 7.8 percent drop from 2009.

State attorney general's spokeswoman Lynda Gledhill says the 2010 rate is the lowest since 1966. It's also the fifth year in a row that killings have declined in California.

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Among the 35 most populous counties, Monterey and Merced had the highest homicide rates at 10 per 100,000.

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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