Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Homicides Rose in 2012; the 108 Killings in the City Marked End of Decline since 2007

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Homicides Rose in 2012; the 108 Killings in the City Marked End of Decline since 2007

Article excerpt

Byline: Dana Treen

A four-year decline in the number of Jacksonville homicides ended in 2012 with a jump to 108 from 86 in 2011, according to preliminary counts of killings.

Of the 2012 homicides, 93 were ruled murder, up from 72 in 2011.

There are important distinctions between homicide and murder. While all murders are homicides, not all homicides are murder. A homicide is one person killing another person, no matter the reason, and would include justifiable, excusable or accidental killings at the hands of another person.

It will be months before final crime data is collected and analyzed by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement for an official annual statewide crime report. But here are some notable trends and comparisons compiled by the Times-Union.

DECREASING VIOLENCE

In four of what have been the city's most violent neighborhoods, there were no homicides in 2012.

Eureka Garden, Washington Heights, Cleveland Arms and Roosevelt Gardens had reputations for violence stretching back years. In 2012 none of the three was the scene of a murder.

HOMICIDES INCREASE

The last time Jacksonville saw an increase in homicides over the previous year was in 2007, when the number peaked at 152 and the city was considered the state's murder capital. Since then there has been an annual decline that dipped below 100 in 2010 for the first time since 1981.

Nearly identical to 2012 was 2003, when there were 108 homicides and 92 murders.

HOW THEY DIED

Victims were more often killed by firearms, which is nothing unusual, but overall there was a 22 percent increase in incidents of guns being discharged in violent crimes during 2012, Sheriff John Rutherford told the Times-Union in December.

Including police and self-defense shootings, 82 died by gunfire.

Of those, 71 were murders. Six of the rest were by police and another five were by civilians and ruled justifiable.

Other causes of death include 11 stabbings and 13 deaths by beating, blunt-force trauma and strangulation. One person was run over by a truck and a child died of a drug overdose.

In 2011 there were 72 murders among 86 homicides. Sixty-six of those died from gunfire, eight were beaten and four were stabbed. …

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