NEW YORK (CNN) -- The big news in the Big Apple this week may be what didn't happen.
There was not a single reported slaying, stabbing, shooting or knifing in any of the five boroughs on Monday, according to the New York Police Department.
"It is unusual in a city of 8 million people, but we never read that much into one day," said Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne, who said it was the "first time in memory" that the city had had such a lull in violent crime.
The violence-free stretch spanned 36 hours, starting Sunday evening when a man was shot in the head and lasted until Tuesday morning with another shooting, police said.
For a city that once suffered from high crime rates, Monday's feat fits into a broader trend of dropping homicide rates, police say.
"The city hopes to finish out the year with the lowest homicide rate sine 1960," said Browne.
In 1990, police say the city tallied just under 2,300 homicides. By 2002, that number had dropped below 600.
So far in 2012, police say that number is 366.
"If you think back to how bad things were in the 1970s and '80s, you were lucky if you had a few hours go by where you didn't have a violent crime, nevermind a whole day," said NYPD historian Michael Cronin.
Nationwide, there were 14,612 murders in 2011, on average one every 36 minutes, the FBI reported.
That's a small decline from 14,722 in 2010.
In October, the FBI said violent crime across the nation fell for the fifth consecutive year in 2011 with murder, rape and robbery all declining, but it noted that violent crime remains a serious problem in many urban areas.
The FBI crime statistics differed from a telephone crime survey released in October by the Justice Department. That report showed crime increasing last year but attributed the change to a jump in simple assaults.
James Alan Fox, a criminologist at Northeastern University in Boston, said many of those assaults described to interviewers were pushing-and-shoving incidents with no injuries and were not reported to any law enforcement agencies.
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