CONWAY, Ark. — New reports from Conway police showed that there have been seven homicides in the city this year— which comes after zero murders last year.
City officials explained that people should still feel safe in their city, and there's a lot more to security than just a single statistic.
Conway Chief of Police, William Tapley, said that while homicides spiked this year, safety improved in other areas.
"Anytime that violent crime goes up, it's a concern to us. And we do all that we can do to address those problems," he added.
Through November of 2022, the total number of robberies in the city was cut in half compared to last year.
"Most of our individual crime stats are down, as I said, our property crimes, our thefts, our vehicle thefts.." Tapley said.
The overall rise in violent crime is not just unique to Conway.
"I think it's a national trend right now that violent crime is coming up," Tapley said.
Even still, Mayor Bart Castleberry said his focus is on the city.
"Conway is a very, very safe place to live... We recently completed a survey that we try to do annually. And the majority of people in Conway feel safe," Castleberry explained.
He also added that the city has still been finding ways to improve safety amid rising criminal trends.
"Any homicide is unacceptable. But unfortunately, the times that we live in," Castleberry said.
Local police have worked to provide added safety with new programs, such as adding security to high-traffic shopping malls for the holidays and re-introducing their Crime Suppression Unit.
"The Crime Suppression unit would be a smaller unit that addresses hot area crimes. We pay for officers to be in our shopping centers during high traffic," Tapley explained.
Amid confidence in a safe city, Conway leaders have taken the rise in violent crime seriously and have also pushed for safety in their own community.
"Having a safe city, for my family to live in is as important to me as it is to everyone else, and I think that's something we will always strive for in Conway," Castleberry said.
Conway Police told us that the department is aware that two of the seven homicides had not been widely shared with the public.
Their press officer, Lacey Kanipe explained that it was because they "didn't want to jeopardize the investigation."
We are still working to find out exactly when those homicides happened, but we were able to find out that the 7th homicide happened in November.