The number of homicides is the lowest since 1965, when the city had 395 killings, the Chicago Tribune reported Sunday.
"That is an astonishing and big drop," said Franklin Zimring, the director of the Criminal Justice Research Program at the University of California at Berkeley.
Chicago had 460 homicides in 2009 and 513 in 2008. Total crime in Chicago through Dec. 27 was down 4.3 percent, with violent crime down 10.3 percent.
The decline is attributed to several things, including smarter policing, including the use of technology, and higher incarceration rates in the 1990s.
But not all communities in Chicago saw a drop in homicides and other violent crimes.
Wesley Skogan, a crime and policing expert at Northwestern University's Institute of Policy Research, said many African-American neighborhoods in Chicago didn't see the decline in crime that white, Hispanic or other diverse neighborhoods enjoyed.