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Little Rock facing another year of record-high homicides

We're currently at 55 homicides for 2021, which is the number the city saw last year, giving Little Rock its highest number of homicides in more than 10 years.

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — Little Rock is on track to have another record high year of homicides.

Nationally, we are seeing an increase in violent crime, but some locals here in Little Rock are researching trends to find out how to prevent it.

With more than a month left this year, we've already hit the number of homicides we had last year, which was the most in more than 10 years at the time.

Little Rock police hope we don't see an uptick, especially around holiday season.

"We hope not. Again, that's where conflict resolutions come in. You hope that people can resolve their differences without picking up weapons," said Mark Edwards of the Little Rock Police Department.

55 homicides is the number of homicides we are currently at this year. It was the total for last year, and at the time, it was the highest that we had seen in over 10 years.

But this year is not over. We still have the holiday season and LRPD is trying to stay on top of the crime.

"Despite COVID, our officers are still going into the communities and we make sure that we are data driven. So we make sure our officers follow the data and we're in places to deter crime," said Edwards.

Edmond Davis is the director of the Derek Olivier Research Institute (DORI). He and his students look at crime data trends in Little Rock.

"We're on pace right now to, of course, I would say hit about 65 homicides, because right now we have about one homicide every 7.5 days," said Davis.

He said about 90% of the homicide victims in Little Rock are Black. Around 80% are Black men. 

According to the CDC, homicide is the leading cause of death for Black boys and men ages one through 44.

DORI is tracking the factors that lead to murder, from the social and emotional, to the educational, environmental, and economic.

"We have to address these broken relationships, because hurt people hurt people," said Davis. "Most of the time, people who are killed, especially African Americans, you kill who lives close and who's next to you."

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