With more than 470 homicides in 1990, Washington DC earned the label "murder capital" of the US. But as 2011 ends, the city's murder toll for the year stands at just under 110.
The capital's success in curbing crime is not unique, with New York, Los Angeles and Chicago reporting similar patterns.
Police credit technology for being a big help in preventing and solving crimes.
And contrary to conventional wisdom, the current economic recession has also coincided with safer streets - just as it did during the Great Depression in the 1930s.
Al Jazeera's Tom Ackerman reports from Washington DC.