CHICAGO
01/02/2013 12:28 pm ET

Aurora Homicide-Free: Illinois' Second-Largest City Finishes 2012 Without A Single Murder

Chicago may have tallied astonishing homicide numbers in 2012--506 to be exact--but Illinois' second-largest city recorded an extraordinary figure of its own:

Zero.

For the first time in six decades, Aurora went without a single homicide in 2012, according to the Tribune. A city of 200,000, roughly 40 miles west of Chicago, Aurora last hit the murder-free milestone in 1946.

The city's last reported homicide was on Dec. 21, 2011, reports The Associated Press, when a 21-year-old woman died in a domestic violence attack.

Aurora's population has surged in past years, reports the Sun-Times, yet the city has managed to curb the homicide rate through a mix of efforts from community groups, schools, local law enforcement and even help from the FBI.

(Read more about the tactics Aurora has used to lower homicide rates.)

The homicide rate in Aurora peaked in the 1990s, with a high of 26 murders in 1995 and 1996, reports the Sun-Times. Massive sweeps on gang members and drug dealers helped narrow the rate to two murders in 2011.

“We went through a lot of stuff to get there," Aurora Police Chief Greg Thomas told the Sun-Times. "A lot of things had to come together inside and outside the department to make that happen.”

The state's third-largest city, Rockford, had 14 homicides in 2012, reports the AP, the city's lowest number since the 2004 total of eight.

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