BALTIMORE (AP) — Baltimore police say the city recorded 196 homicides in 2011.

That’s the lowest number of slayings in the city has seen since the city had 197 homicides in 1978.

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The number is far lower than the homicide count peak of 353 slayings in 1993. It’s a significant drop, but the homicide rate is in the same range the city saw in the late 1980s, when the city had another 130,000 residents.

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City leaders credit a sustained focus on repeat violent offenders and increased community engagement for the continued drop that reflects a nationwide decline.

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(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)