Violent crime went down 3 percent overall in Philadelphia last year, but results varied significantly among the 23 police districts.

The Ninth District, including the western part of Center City and Fairmount, reported the greatest reduction: 27 percent. The 16th District, in West Philadelphia, and the Fifth District, in Manayunk and Roxborough, reported decreases of 15 percent or more.

The Third District, in South Philadelphia and southeastern Center City, and the Seventh District, in the Northeast, reported the largest increases in violent crime: 12 percent. However, those districts typically have less crime to begin with, so an increase of a few dozen crimes can cause a large swing.

At year's end, Mayor Nutter and Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey hailed the crime trends as positive, but said they were unsatisfied.

"We're not where we want to be . . . and we have much more work to do," the mayor said.

A few patterns emerged in the Police Department's year-end crime statistics.

Seven districts reported more violent crimes, which include homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Four were among the nine districts that Ramsey targeted at the beginning of last year for increased patrols.

While their year-end violent-crime results were mixed, the drop in homicides in those nine districts was the difference in the city's total last year.

Citywide, homicides decreased 15 percent, or 59 fewer deaths. The nine targeted districts, which accounted for the bulk of homicides in previous years, reported 66 fewer murders last year.

Among the targeted districts, West Philadelphia's 18th, including the University of Pennsylvania area, reported the most dramatic reduction in homicides - from 26 in 2007 to seven last year.

The nine districts that Ramsey initially targeted are the 12th, 14th, 15th, 18th, 19th, 22d, 25th, 35th and 39th. He later added the 16th, 23d and 24th.

The year-end numbers are considered preliminary. They differ slightly from final statistics, reported in midyear, that conform to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reports standards, said Lt. Frank Vanore, department spokesman.