By Rick Hampson, USA Today, Jan. 2, 2014
Homicide in America last year was a tale of two cities: those where it plummeted and those where it soared.
Murder declined in some places with which it was once (sometimes recently) synonymous, such as Chicago (down 17% from 2012), Philadelphia (down 25%), Los Angeles (16%) and New York (20%).
Chicago's total was the lowest since 1965, Philadelphia's the lowest since 1967, L.A.'s the lowest since 1966. New York logged the lowest total at least since 1963, when its current system of keeping records was established.
Homicides declined in some of the nation's most troubled cities, including bankrupt Detroit (from 386 to 333) and Camden, N.J. (from 67 to 57), where the local police department was dissolved and replaced by a regional force.
Homicides increased in other cities, including Washington (even if the 12 victims of the Sept. 16 Navy Yard massacre are not included); Baltimore, whose Western District, infamous in the TV series The Wire, saw the most murders in a decade; and Newark, where the bloodiest year since 1990 culminated with police charging a 15-year-old boy in a Christmas Day shooting that left two teenagers dead and a third seriously injured.
Overall, homicide declined dramatically around the turn of the century, but experts say it's unclear exactly where it's headed now.
"It wasn't a bad year, especially compared to 15 years ago,'' said Thomas Reppetto, former president of the Citizens Crime Commission of New York and an author of several books on policing, "but it's not clear what the long-term trend will be, even five years from now.'' [....]