New York’s murder rate in 2018 hit its lowest level in almost 70 years, according to figures released Thursday by the city’s police department, AFP reports.

The largest US city recorded 289 homicides in 2018, a drop of one percent from the preceding year.

That was the lowest rate since the early 1950s, police said.

The homicide rate was down 45 percent over the past decade. In 1990, the city suffered 2,245 murders.

After an eight-percent rise in murders in the first half of the year, 2018 ended with an historic low in the number of killings, and in October experienced its first shooting-free weekend in 25 years.

Mayor Bill de Blasio praised the work of the city police force and said the record figures were due in part to a new “neighborhood policing” strategy adopted in 2015.

That policy includes building relationships with local populations in each neighborhood, to better identify a community’s needs and establish trust.

While the drop in the city’s murder rate has fallen along with violent robbery — down 7.7 percent — and a four-percent decline in the number of car thefts, New York has been hit with a rise in the number of rapes, which leapt by 22.4 percent.

The mayor said that was due less to a rise in the number of rapes than the fact that the crime had been underreported in the past.

Also up were the number of racially motivated attacks, or those carried out for religious or gender-bias reasons, with 361 such attacks reported, police said.