By Joe Holden

CHESTER, Pa. (CBS) – Homicides in Chester are down more than 50% compared to last year. That’s according to a new report from the Chester Police Department.

The Police Department released the mid-year 2021 crime statistics on Tuesday. According to the report, homicides were down 58% from January through June of 2021 compared to the same timeframe in 2020.

READ MORE: Woman Killed After Shooting Inside Kensington Home, Police Say

Chester officials say the city is safer due to a new approach in policing. They’re backing up those claims with stats showing a steep decrease in some of the most violent crime categories.

Homicides were not the only crimes that are seeing a downward trend. Robbery, assault, burglary, theft, vehicular theft, and arson have also decreased in the city. All crimes except for rapes were trending down.

“There isn’t one particular reason why the numbers are down,” Police Commissioner Steven Gretsky said. “The progress here is a combination of partnerships with other law enforcement agencies, like the DA’s office, and state police. It is also a testament to the resiliency of this department being able to make progress despite being under-resourced. I am encouraged and looking forward to finishing out the rest of 2021 strong.”

The mayor, police commissioner and city council members were at Memorial Park on Tuesday morning talking about those declining crime numbers.

READ MORE: Cars Towed, Scrapped In Wilmington Leads To Federal Lawsuit

Arson incidents registered the highest decline, with a 65% drop from January through June when compared to the same timeframe in 2020. Homicides saw the second-highest drop, with 11 fewer murders in the city this year. Robberies showed a 51% decrease, followed by thefts with a 23% downward trend, burglaries saw a 19% decrease, vehicle thefts were down 9%, and robberies dropped by 5%.

Police say they’ve also closed more than half of this year’s cases in making arrests.

“Our officers should be commended for all of their hard work,” said Mayor Kirkland. “I am beyond proud of Commissioner Gretsky, his leadership, the entire police department, and this community. The numbers show that progress is being made in Chester on this front. There’s always room for improvement but I am encouraged by these numbers and the future of our city.”

Gretzky cited the following reasons for the turnaround:

  • Progressive leadership of the police department with officer feedback, which he says boosted morale
  • The Chester partnership for safe neighborhoods, which is a cooperative agreement with the DA’s Office in Delaware County
  • Community policing and an increase in community events where police are visible

In total, 157 fewer of those crimes have happened this year compared to last year. That’s a 21% decline in crime.

MORE NEWS: Philadelphia Parking Authority Launching Pilot Program Targeting Illegally Parked Cars In Bike, Bus Lanes

Meanwhile, the situation in Philadelphia remains grim. Even city council members in Philadelphia pointed to the success story happening in Chester, saying that plan can be adopted there.