LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — On Tuesday, the CDC released new data that shows homicides with a gun have risen 35% from 2019 to 2020 in the United States.
Little Rock has also hit record-breaking homicide rates recently. The year 2021 was the second-highest year for murders, with 1992 being the first-highest year.
Currently, Little Rock has 31 homicides so far this year. That's 10 more than this time last year at a 48% increase.
"A lot of our violent crime, especially our homicides, come from domestic violence and an increase in acquainted violence," said Mark Edwards with the Little Rock Police Department.
Dr. Terry Richard, UALR's Sociology Professor Emeritus, attributes several key factors that contributed to higher crime rates during COVID, including isolation, civil unrest, high gun sales, and increased alcohol use.
"We were obviously not prepared for what the pandemic and the social isolation and the restrictions that were placed on individuals it would do to the general population as a whole," said Dr. Richard.
But Dr. Richard said there are solutions that should focus on increased police force with better social/emotional training.
"You really have to make sure and recruit better educated, more motivated, and better paid police," said Dr. Richard.
Dr. Richard said it could take one to two years before we see those pre-pandemic levels of violent crime in the nation.
Police said the key to reducing violent crime in the city is to prevent domestic altercations before they escalate.
"If you're in a domestic situation and you give us a call, give our victim advocate unit a call and we will definitely be able to help in anyway we can," said Edwards.
To call LRPD's victim services, you can dial 501-918-4357.