The number of murders in Philadelphia this year is on course to be the lowest since 2002.

As of 12:01 a.m. today, there have been 302 murders in the city compared to 332 the same time last year, a 9 percent reduction, the Police Department reports. The total was 333 for all of 2008.

In 2002, there were 288 criminal homicides.

The city's murder record was set in 1990, when 500 people met violent ends.

Overall, violent crime is down 8 percent in the city as of Dec. 20, according to Police Department statistics.

Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey has attributed the drop in violent crime to enforcements efforts targeting high-crime neighborhood and times.

The following is a list of murders in the city since 2001.

2001 - 309

2002 - 288

2003 - 348

2004 - 330

2005 - 377

2006 - 406

2007 - 371

2008 - 333