Murder, manslaughter and infanticide rates in England and Wales have fallen to the lowest level for almost three decades, new figures show.
Some 550 homicides were recorded in 2011/12, a reduction of 14% year-on-year and the lowest since 1983. In 2001/2002 there were 1,045 recorded homicides.
Final figures, including a breakdown of the types of homicide cases, will not be available until January.
The Crime Survey for England and Wales shows that the number of recorded crimes fell to 3,976,312 - the first time it has fallen below four million since 1989.
Violent crime has dropped by 7%, while robberies fell by 2%.
Theft from a person, commonly known as pickpocketing, is up again in what the Office of National Statistics believes may be an upward trend.
Incidents of people stealing wallets, purses, mobile phones and unattended bags have risen by 17% over the past two years.
While home security has played a big role in the overall downward trends in burglary, theft from gardens or sheds have risen.
Around 5,000 incidents were generated by the riots that hit English cities last summer but the disorder has not dramatically altered the overall crime trends.
However, the survey classes the looting of a shop as one crime regardless of many people are involved.
The overall 4% drop in crime is classed as "no significant change".