The major crime rate in Los Angeles dropped 14 percent last year, making it the second-safest large city in the country, police said.

According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, Los Angeles moved ahead of San Diego but remained behind New York as the safest among the nation’s 10 largest cities.

Los Angeles had a reported 140,601 major crimes last year, according to police statistics. By comparison, the city had more than 300,000 major crimes in 1992, one of its most violent years.

"You’d have to look back to 1956 to find a comparable crime rate for Los Angeles," Police Chief William Bratton said Thursday.

Violent crime dipped 26.8 percent last year compared to 2004, police said. However, that reduction was partly due to a change in how the police department reports domestic violence to the federal government.

The department narrowed its definition of aggravated assault to comply with federal guidelines. That meant excluding the least serious domestic violence – known as simple assaults – from its statistics.

The department said there were 487 reported homicides, down 6 percent from 518 in 2004. That was better than comparable nationwide statistics, which showed a 2.1 percent increase in the homicide rate, police said.

Rapes fell 16.3 percent. There were also declines in robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, burglary from a vehicle, personal and other theft and auto theft.

Bratton said the declines were especially significant because the department has only one officer for every 426 residents, while New York City has about half that ratio, according to the Uniform Crime Report.

More here.