A new report by the California Department of Justice shows that the homicide rate last year dropped to its lowest level in more than four decades.
According to updated 2010 figures, there were 4.7 reported homicides for every 100,000 people. That's a 7.8 percent drop from 2009.
State attorney general's spokeswoman Lynda Gledhill says the 2010 rate is the lowest since 1966. It's also the fifth year in a row that killings have declined in California.
Hispanics made up the largest percentage of homicide victims at 44.5 percent, and they also accounted for 48.7 percent of arrestees.
Gangs and drugs were the top contributing factors, cited in 39.5 percent of killings.
Among the 35 most populous counties, Monterey and Merced had the highest homicide rates at 10 per 100,000.