For a decade, Philadelphia has logged at least 300 murders a year. Halfway through 2013, however, the city is on pace to break that deadly cycle.

As of Friday, there were 115 murders on the books.

That's a 42 percent decline compared with the same time last year when there were 182 homicides.
The total is also the lowest midyear figure since 1968.

Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said a number of factors have contributed to the historic decline.

"Our crime briefings that we have, the targeting of particular areas to anticipate where crimes are going to occur based on previous patterns, the way we deploy our resources, and, of course, the quality of the people leading the charge make a big difference," he said.

Ramsey, who's been on the job for more than five years, said partnerships with other city agencies -- including the office of the district attorney and mayor -- also have been helpful.

Despite the downswing in all the major crime categories but rape, Ramsey said he isn't ready to celebrate.

"You got to keep pushing forward because for those people who were shot, for those people who were killed, there's more work. We still have a lot of families that have been impacted by crime in the city," said Ramsey, noting that he'd like to see the city have fewer than 200 murders a year.

There were a total of 331 homicides in 2012.

The low numbers so far are likely to be put to the test this summer, typically one of the most violent stretches of the year.