By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia ends the year with 329 homicides. That’s the highest number in the last four years. But Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey sees signs of hope amid the statistics.

Philadelphia’s crime statistics contain a paradox. The percentage of gun-related homicides is up. They account for 85 percent of homicides. And the number of homicides is up – five more than last year- but the number of shootings is down to its lowest number since at least 2001. Commissioner Ramsey believes the shootings have become more lethal because more of the victims are shot in the head or shot multiple times.

“They’re targeted shootings, with high caliber weapons,” said Ramsey.

Ramsey says he saw the homicide rate shooting up in the first half of the year and adopted a new strategy to keep the most dangerous offenders off the street – one that seems to have worked. The number of homicides dropped in the second half of the year.

“Are we satisfied? No, the number’s creeping up from what it was, but it’s not as grim if you just look at the number as opposed to looking at trends.”

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