LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- People are killing people and we're seeing an increase in those numbers.
Little Rock police officers worked more than 30 homicides so far this year and we're only eight months in. So what's the cause and what can be done?
THV's Lauren Scott sat down with the Little Rock chief of police Stuart Thomas to find out why they're happening. We learned some are gang-related, so we also tracked down Liefel Jackson, a former gang member to help us put crime in focus.
"There's definitely more than there was in the 80s and 90s." Leifel Jackson, a former Crips member, reflects on gang growth in Little Rock.
"We have gone up a hundred fold." That increase is reflecting in murder number, so far there have been 37 in Little Rock this year. In 1993, when gangs were more prevalent, we had more than 70.
"We've had some unusual circumstances, in July we had 11, but we had three instances where they were double homicides." In some cases, Little Rock Police Chief, Stuart Thomas says they are gang-related.
"We've had individuals both victims and suspects that we've identified as likely gang members."
But these killings aren't like the gang wars we saw in the 90s. Jackson says there is different fuel to the fire that's causing people to pull the trigger.
"We were fighting over territory, the right to call this street OGC or the four block and others were fighting over the right to say this is Oak Street or the blood set." But now, Chief Thomas says, "It was over personal issues, had nothing to do with the traditional things like initiation or turf."'
Jackson says, a big reason our homicide numbers aren't in the 70s yet is respect. Former gang members like himself are going back to the streets to educate the younger members about the consequences of killing.
As far as preventing more homicides, Little Rock police are working on that, Chief Thomas says they are increasing patrols in trouble spots.