Denver Homicides Up 59 Percent From This Time Last Year

May 3, 2018
Chart: Denver Homicides, 2003-2017
As of May 2, there have been 26 homicides in 2018. Denver police expect that number to outpace 2017 by the end of the year.

Updated 3:45 p.m. -- The number of homicide victims in Denver jumped more than 59 percent so far this year, according to the Denver Police Department.

There have been 27 killings in the city through May 2 compared to 17 at the same point last year. The city is now on pace for the most homicides since 2004.​

“That is a concern for me,” said Troy Riggs, executive director of the Denver Department of Safety. The rise in killings are increasingly because, “people are using guns to settle arguments, settle beefs with one another.”

Denver homicides hit a low back in 2014, but have almost doubled since then. It's difficult for city police to pin down definitive trends in a still relatively small number of cases. In previous years, major increases in the number of murders were traced back to gangs or domestic violence. But this year only five of the homicides are associated with gangs, and just two are domestic incidents.

Chart: Denver 2017 Homicide Comparison

Despite the recent increase in violence, Denver is still much safer than other cities. Detroit has about the same population as Denver, yet police reported five times as many homicides in 2017. St Louis is much smaller than Denver, but had three times as many killings last year.

Nine of the homicide cases so far this year remain unsolved.

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