Last year, the number of homicides in Philadelphia dropped to a 46-year low. The city is on track to end 2014 with roughly the same number of murders this year. 

So far in 2014, there have been 242 slayings, compared to 241 during the same period in 2013.

"Compared to the historical numbers of homicides we've had going back 10, 15 years, this is obviously good news," said Jerry Ratcliffe, chairman of Temple University's criminal justice department. "We used to have homicides in the [300], 400 range. ... To be able to get down to the sort of numbers that we're seeing nowadays is certainly an improvement."

Ratcliffe credits the Philadelphia Police Department's recent success on its data-driven crime-fighting strategies and its programs aimed at helping people leave gangs.

The number of violent and property crimes in Philadelphia is also down from last year.