updated 11/23/2007 2:31:10 PM ET 2007-11-23T19:31:10

The city is on track to have fewer than 500 murders in 2007, the lowest amount in a 12-month period in more than 40 years, according to a published report Thursday.

There were 428 murders recorded as of Sunday — 412 killings and 16 crime victims who died from injuries suffered years ago, The New York Times reported on its Web site. That makes the city’s average slightly more than one per day.

Last year, the city reported 579 homicides through Dec. 24 — a nearly 10 percent increase from the year before.

The city’s homicide rate reached an all-time high of 2,245 in 1990, making it the murder capital of the nation. Since then, the rate has plummeted to levels not seen since the 1960s. There were 570 homicides in 2004, dropping to 539 in 2005.

This year, police have determined a relationship between the victim and assailant in nearly half of the slayings committed as of Nov. 18, The Times reported. The motives in the remainder of the killings were still being analyzed.

The majority died in disputes with acquaintances, rival drug crew members or spouses and family.

Police department analysts found only 35 cases where the victim did not know the killer, as compared to 121 instances last year, officials said, according to The Times.

In the first half of 2007, New York City had a 5 percent decline in violent crimes, 23,887, down from 25,132. The city also had a 4 percent drop in property crimes for the first half of the year, according to a recent state report.

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