(HealthDay News) — Violent crime rates have decreased dramatically over the past three decades, largely due to crime prevention efforts that focus on the root causes of violence, researchers say. Findings from the study are published in the August 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, a theme issue on violence and human rights.

Murders in the United States have dropped by more than half, from a peak of 10.7 per 100,000 persons in 1980 to 5.1 per 100,000 in 2013. Aggravated assaults also have declined, from a peak of 442 per 100,000 in 1992 to 242 per 100,000 in 2012. And the percentage of assaults that result in death has been halved since the 1960s.

However, there’s still much room for improvement. Despite these decreases, every year there are more than 16,000 homicides and 1.6 million assault injuries that require treatment in emergency departments, the researchers found.

“Progress has been made in reducing U.S. rates of interpersonal violence even though a significant burden remains,” the authors write. “Multiple strategies exist to improve violence prevention efforts, and health care providers are an important part of this solution.”

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