Los Angeles Crime Rate Lowest in 50 Years

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Authorities say the 2009 crime rate in Los Angeles was the lowest in 50 years, with drops reported in everything from homicides to car thefts.

Police Chief Charlie Beck announced Wednesday that the number of homicides dropped more than 18 percent last year compared to 2008. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says the 314 reported homicides were the fewest since 1967.

Overall, there was a 10.8 percent drop in violent crimes and an 8 percent dip in property crimes even though the city's economy sagged and unemployment rose.

Rapes were down about 8 percent and auto thefts plunged nearly 20 percent.

The drops are being mirrored elsewhere in the country. New York City finished the year with the fewest killings since comparable record-keeping began in the 1960s.