The homicide rate last year dropped to its lowest level in more than four decades according to a new report by the California Department of Justice.
There were 4.7 reported homicides for every 100,000 people. That's a 7.8 percent drop from 2009, according to updated 2010 figures.
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.
Hispanics made up the largest percentage of homicide victims at 44.5 percent, and they also accounted for 48.7 percent of arrestees.
In addition to declining crime rates, the percentage of solved reported crimes has increased to 63.8 percent. This year’s rate is the highest since 2001.
Gangs and drugs were the top contributing factors, cited in 39.5 percent of killings.
Among the 35 most populous counties, Monterey and Merced had the highest homicide rates at 10 per 100,000.