Known for its rampant crime amid political and racial turmoil, Miami recorded a staggering 244 murders in 1980. Twenty-five years later, the homicide toll: 56, a low not marked since the mid-1960s, the Miami Herald reports. ”This is a good news story,” said Miami Police Chief John Timoney, who took over the department three years ago. Crime citywide dipped overall by 5 percent in 2005 from the previous year. Detectives solved 86 percent of last year’s murders; the national average clearance rate is about 63 percent.
Police and city officials say better policing, more trust in officers, and a city with a stable economy and government are all factors in the murder decrease. Some experts say crime has been cut in part because so many repeat criminals are imprisoned. Says Florida State University criminologist Bill Bales: ”Florida has done a pretty good job in terms of targeting some of the repeat offenders.’