Citing "targeted" and "precision" policing, the NYPD says the city's crime rates are staying at historically low levels this year. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.

The crackle of gun fire and the murder rate across the city have decreased since last year.  

The NYPD says the reason is precision policing of violent gangs and others they know are responsible for crime patterns. 

"Modern technology that they have that rivals NSA and the CIA," said Kevin Clark, a retired NYPD chief who also served as Baltimore's police commissioner. "If you are a bad guy out there, you are going to get caught."

Clark says the NYPD deserves a lot of credit.

New crime statistics show there were 310 murders in the first 11 months of 2016, 15 fewer than the same period last year, a decline of nearly 5 percent. And there have been 936 shootings, 107 less than last year, a decline of more than 10 percent.

Police say community members are helping to keep crime low by being more proactive in reporting crimes. That could be a result of the department's increased community policing program, a strategy to rebuild trust after years of stop-and frisk policing in communities of color.

"They are engaging the public now," Clark said. "The public is the one that when technology fails is going to give you the answers that you are looking for."

The NYPD says although the numbers are good in a city of 8-and-a-half-million people, one person killedis one person too many.

But compared to other cities, New York is very safe. The number of murders in Chicago, for example, has soared to around 700. 

Clark says as crime remains low here in New York, fewer police should be addressing quality-of-life issues. He suggests highly trained counselors instead.

"It is a little different when somebody else who isn't wearing a gun approaches you, looks like you and probably comes from your community, and has significant training in a number of areas," Clark said.

"Law enforcement should be responding to crimes in progress, not into somebody whose tires were slashed on the street or somebody selling DVDs in front of a store."

Clark believes that could also help improve community-police relations.