THE number of murders in the West of Scotland dropped by more than 10% last year, according to a report.
However, a total of 51 people were still murdered in the Strathclyde Police area in the year up to March 31.
This represents a 13.6% drop on the 59 murders in the previous 12 months.
The figures appear in the Strathclyde Police Chief Constable's Annual Report 2011-12, the last before the force ceases to exist next year once a single police force is created.
Knives were the most commonly used weapon in murders across the city.
Ex-nursery worker Dawn McKenzie, 34, died after being found with knife wounds to her head and body in a house in Hamilton in June last year.
A 14-year-old boy, who cannot be named, is due to stand trial in connection with her death later this year.
And in February this year, 48-year-old Gary Logue was found stabbed in Elderpark Street, Govan.
David Hobson, 21, has been charged with his murder.
Fewer attempted murders were also recorded, falling by a quarter (24.8%), or 69 victims, on the previous year, while the number of serious assaults fell by 498 (16.4%) compared with 2010-11.
Strathclyde Police said the improved figures were due to a sustained effort to tackle the West of Scotland's "culture of violence".
A total of 89 more rapes were recorded, up 24.7% compared with the previous year, while indecent or sexual assaults were up by 325 (37.5%).
However, the report claims this is a result of new laws introduced in December 2010, which created a new range of offences and broadened the definition of rape.
But the figures include a spate of sex attacks in Glasgow city centre.
Last month Scott Kerr admitted raping a woman and sexually assaulting another in the space of 15 minutes in a city centre street.
Kerr, 22, dragged his first victim, a 20-year-old woman, into a car park in James Watt Street, off the Broomielaw, in Glasgow and assaulted her in the early hours of Wednesday, December 21.
A quarter of an hour later he raped a 22-year-old woman on a ramp into an underground car park serving the BT building across the road.
Chief Constable Steve House said: "Since I returned to Scotland in 2007 my focus has been on tackling violence in the West of Scotland, which sadly had become an accepted part of our culture.
"The results show that we have made significant progress. However, figures are not everything and for me the real success lies in the prevention of crime, the reduction of the numbers of families and communities affected by crime and the increase in our ability to keep people safe."
Those involved in serious and organised crime were deprived of around £37million through denial of contracts, disruption to businesses and blocking opportunities for them to operate, according to the report.
Drugs operations in 2011-12 saw police seize 69kg of cocaine, 70kg of heroin, 98kg of amphetamine and more than 1 tonne of cannabis.
On the roads, speeding offences were up 19.1% compared with 2010-11.
The number of fatal road crashes fell by 17.4% to a five-year low, with 59 fatalities recorded on Strathclyde's roads last year.