TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — 2021 has brought on more sirens rushing to murder scenes.
In just the first seven months of the year, the Tucson Police Department has already investigated 38 murders. Officers explained that’s 12 more than this time last year.
“There is a spike of bad actors. There is an increase in people who are up to no good and doing nefarious things,” said Lieutenant Corey Doggett, Commander of the Violent Crimes Sector.
He said while homicides are up, the department can't pinpoint why.
"In our investigations, we can see that they're usually isolated incidents revolving around known suspects or known participants. There's sort of an escalation of violence that leads to a shooting and oftentimes death,” said Lt. Doggett.
He said firearms are involved a majority of the time.
He added the trend has led the department shuffle around resources.
“We have adjusted detectives over to our homicide unit [to] increase those numbers. They're also working with other homicide and other investigative units to support us on homicide scenes," he said.
Behind every one of the investigations are loved ones impacted by the loss. That’s where local non-profit Homicide Survivors Incorporated come in to help.
“Early on in the year when we began to hear the phones continue to ring [and] the referrals continue to come in, and it hasn't stopped since,” said Daniela Munoz Alvarez, bilingual victim advocate.
Munoz Alvarez's job is to help the families understand the legal system and help them maneuver through the emotional and financial impacts that follow.
“It's not something that they were able to prepare for of course, and that comes with the big toll because it's a lifetime of having to be someone that you loved dearly," said Munoz Alvarez.
While the Tucson Police Department and Homicide Survivors Inc. want the trend to stop, the non-profit wants those who’ve lost loved ones to know they aren’t alone.
“It's incredibly isolating and it's hard for others to understand how to support. So, I think it's most important for our community to know that we're here and we're ready to support,” said Munoz Alvarez.
TPD asks anyone with information on homicides in our community to contact them.