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WASHINGTON — District of Columbia officials say the city is on course to record the lowest homicide rate in nearly half a century.

The decline mirrors a nationwide trend of falling rates in major American cities. But it’s startling in a city that was ravaged by the crack epidemic two decades ago and where homicides totaled 479 in 1991. There were 108 homicides as of Thursday. He says the number hasn’t been that low since the early 1960s.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray told The Associated Press on Thursday that people feel safer in the city. He attributes the continued declines in part to community policing and to strong leadership in the traditionally more violent neighborhoods of southeast Washington.

Gray and Police Chief Cathy Lanier plan to announce the progress at a news conference Friday.

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