Shortly after the new year began, the Tucson Police Department released data on murders in 2018, which show a thirteen percent rise from 2017.
In 2018, 53 murders were reported and investigated by TPD, with three committed on the last three days of the year. Last year, it was 47. At this present time, law enforcement is unable to explain the rise. However, TPD officers do attribute a large amount of their success to aid from the public for helping them solve the murders.
Detailed information about the 2018 Homicide/Murder Numbers in our community.— Tucson Police Dept (@Tucson_Police) January 5, 2019
TPD understands the importance of releasing this information in context w/an explanation of the numbers, terminology & suspected motivation. Please click the link below: https://t.co/YJCFRuYt3d pic.twitter.com/iJkEjQiZCA
Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus told the Daily Star that though thirteen percent of murders were caused by an unkown factor, that very few of the cases resulted from a random encounter between a victim and a stranger. In other words, the murders were related to some form of a pre-existing relationship.
On facebook, TPD clarified that homicides were complex in nature:
"Most homicides are very difficult to predict and therefore to prevent but we believe some types of homicides can be influenced by certain policing strategies more than others. For example, if the majority of a city’s homicides are related to gang violence—especially when such violence occurs in specific areas—efforts can be targeted toward reducing retaliatory gang violence, going after known shooters, strengthening relationships between police and residents in high gang-activity neighborhoods, and enlisting partners to engage gang members in alternatives to gang life. We’re doing all of these things to some level (and intend to do more) but gang activity is not the primary cause of homicides in Tucson."
TPD also said that accross a period of decades, murder rates have consistently shown spikes and declines, and the causes of those, too, are a mystery.
Despite 2018's murder rise, there is good news. TPD reported that violent crime in Tucson decreased by 3 percent, compared to 2017. They also said that their homicide clearance rate, or rate of crimes solved compared to how many are reported, remains high at 76 percent, which is above than the national average.
To drive down murders in 2019, TPD plans to implement the following strategies:
For domestic related murders:
* Continue implementation of the lethality assessment tool with victims of domestic violence to identify which victims are at greatest risk for assault
* Strengthen their partnership with Emerge and the Pima County Attorney’s Victim Services Unit so they can act as effectively as possible with high-risk DV victims
* Implementing more effective outreach to Spanish-speaking victims of domestic violence through thier recent grant given by Office of Violence Against Women (OVW)
* Facilitate more training to service providers for victims of domestic violence that involves choking and strangulation
For murders associated with other crimes (such as robberies, drug transactions, etc.):
* Fully engaging with their new Crime Analysis Unit to better identify areas where violent and drug crimes are happening
* Use crime analysis resources to better target violent crimes' key individuals
* Maximize our new partnerships with UA and ASU to improve our data gathering, crime analysis, and research capabilities
* Partner with the Vera Institute, the Police Foundation, the Laura & John Arnold Foundation, and others to implement new crime reduction initiatives
* Increase sector ownership in all geographic divisions to more closely engage the community and maximize crime prevention
* Increase the department’s CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) program, which was created to assist businesses and neighborhoods prevent crime by improving lighting, and increasing cameras, locks, physical layout, and general neighborhood awareness
However, the Tucson Police Department is keen on reminding the public that they are a great attribute to their success. So if you see any suspicious activity or have a tip, please call 9-1-1.
If you wish to remain anonymous, you can call or text 88-CRIME, or visit 88-CRIME.org.