CHICAGO (AP) -- Chicago Police say the city finished 2012 with 506 homicides, about 16 percent more than were recorded in 2011.
The total, 71 more than the 435 committed in 2011, was the highest for the city since 2008, when 512 homicides were recorded.
At the same time, the rate of killings has slowed significantly since the first quarter of 2012 when the city's homicide rate -- more than 60 percent higher compared to the same period in 2011 a surging homicide rate -- made national headlines.
The department, which released the year's final figures on Tuesday, has pointed to its effort to put more officers on patrol and start an intelligence-gathering "audit" to identify and track rival gangs as reasons why the homicide rate slowed as much as it did.
The city of Rockford ended 2012 with 14 homicides -- the lowest total in eight years.
The Rockford Register Star reports the 14 is a drop from the 20 homicides a year the city has averaged in recent years.
Police say arrests have been made in 8 of the year's 14 homicides. They also say that eight of the year's homicide victims were shot to death, three were beaten, one was stabbed, one died in a car crash and a premature-born infant was found to have cocaine in its system.
Police say they don't know why the number of homicides fell in 2012.