The homicide rate in New York City reached its highest level ever in 1990, with an average of six homicides a day, but the number of overall crimes dropped slightly, final police statistics showed Monday.

There were 2,245 homicides in the city in 1990, up 17.8 percent from the previous year, when there were 1,905 killings, according to the figures released by the Police Department.But 87 of the homicides in 1990 were in the March 25 Happy Land social club fire. Police said if the deaths in that suspected arson fire were not counted as homicides, the rate would have gone up 13.3 percent.

On the average day in New York City last year, there were six homicides. The overall homicide figure shattered the previous record set in 1989.

Despite the jump in homicides, the number of reported crimes overall in the city dropped 0.3 percent, according to the figures.

The most significant decrease in the overall figure was in larcenies, which dropped 6.6 percent, and rape, which dropped by 3.9 percent, according to the statistics. Aggravated assault was down 2.9 percent, motor vehicle thefts were down 9.9 percent and burglaries down 1.1 percent.