|The homicide rate in England and Wales has fallen to its lowest level in nearly 30 years, figures from the Office for National Statistics show.
550 homicides were recorded in 2011-12, 88 fewer than the previous year and the lowest number since 1983.
Offences such as pickpocketing, shoplifting and bicycle theft rose 2%, the only crime category to show a rise.
The ONS figures show crime recorded by police forces fell by 4% to below the four million mark for the first time since 1989.
The number of homicides rose from around 300 a year in the 1960s to just under 1,000 a decade ago. The number last year was the same as in 1983.
Officials said the fall in homicide figures were not unique to England and Wales and there had been reductions in Europe, Asia and North America since the mid 1990s.
Separate data, based on interviews with 46,000 adults, suggests crime levels are broadly flat.
They were conducted as part of the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW), previously known as the British Crime Survey, which asks people whether they have been the victim of any offences during the past year.
About 9.5 million incidents took place, according to the survey respondents.