WASHINGTON — The District of Columbia has ended the year with a record low number of homicides.

Mayor Vincent Gray and Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier are holding a press conference Thursday to announce that the city had 88 homicides in 2012. That’s the lowest on record since 1961.

The drop reflects a downward trend in violent crime nationwide and is in line with declining homicides in other big cities. New York City officials say in 2011 homicides dropped to 515 from more than 2,200 in 1990. Houston reported 198 homicides in 2011, down from 457 in 1985, while Los Angeles police reported fewer than 300 after ending 1992 with about 1,100. Across the country, violent crime reported by police to the FBI fell by 3.8 percent last year from 2010.

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