SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — Mirroring a trend seen nationwide, the Bay Area’s biggest cities ended 2013 with fewer homicides compared to 2012. Local police departments are crediting technology with helping to reduce the number of murders.

In 2013, there were 48 homicides in San Francisco, compared to 69 in the previous year. Oakland had 92 homicides in 2013, down from 131 in 2012, the lowest number since 2004. While San Jose had 44 homicides, down from 46 in 2012. Richmond, historically a hotbed for crime, had 16 homicides in 2013, the lowest in 33 years.

Oakland chalks it up to targeting two primary gangs responsible for shootings and robberies. Meanwhile, San Francisco police said video surveillance has helped them target suspects.

Robert Weisberg, a co-director at Stanford’s Criminal Justice Center explained how technology is playing a major role in law-enforcement’s efforts.

”The most efficacious change in policing has to do with the use of computerization to find out where to send the cops in terms of actually catching criminals or deterring criminals. That often means (and I hate to put it this way) a military-style deployment of police toward hot-crime areas,” he said.

That includes the CompStat program, which most major departments have, that uses data to determine where the crimes are occurring and allows them to blanket the streets with their patrols.

Weisberg said many homicide victims are targeted by those they know.

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