Fueled by an explosion of crack-related violence, the number of homicides reported in the city eclipsed the record of 1,841 set in 1981 and surged to at least 1,848 by Christmas Day, authorities reported Sunday.

And there is still a week left in New York's bloodiest year."We can't be sure exactly when it happened," Sgt. Ed Burns, a police spokesman, said Sunday. "But the record was probably broken Friday or even Thursday night."

At least six homicides were reported Christmas Day, as the pace of killings continued unabated by the holiday, he said.