VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - Valdosta police said they saw the same amount of homicides this year as they did last year.
They aren't concerned that homicides are on the rise but more so that the numbers aren't going down.
Whether it's one homicide or eight, violent crime is happening in the city of Valdosta.
The police chief said these cases are more than just a number, they are families, and a community that needs closure and for the violence to stop.
"One homicide is way too many, no doubt about it," said Chief Brian Childress.
This year the Valdosta Police Department worked eight homicide cases, similar to the eight cases they also worked last year.
The number isn't necessarily rising but to police, it is concerning.
"My biggest concern is that we could have had that number lower this year if we could have avoided some of these shootings involving juveniles," said Childress.
Six of the eight cases this year have been drug-related, specifically marijuana.
Only four cases out of the eight in 2016 were drug-related.
"I saw this trend, I started to see the numbers increase even though we were below last year compared to 2015, but I saw it coming," said Childress.
The main question people in the community have is why does it feel like there is more crime this year as compared to years prior, even though looking at a graph will show you that it appears to be decreasing?
"We're so open that perception becomes reality. Am I saying this city is perfect? No. Am I saying crime is out of control? I don't think it's out of control, we're making arrests, but are we going to settle for that?" said Childress.
Chief Childress said they are seeing a dramatic increase in certain areas like thefts, robberies, burglaries and aggravated assaults.
Childress is calling on the community to step up and get the criminal activity to stop.
"Parents and legal guardians first, then the community to include churches, we have to have these tough conversations. And while I appreciate the efforts of these anti-violence campaigns, go to them. The people that need to be there aren't there, the juveniles," said Childress.
Of the 16 homicide cases between this year and last year, 10 of them have been cleared and two are waiting on grand jury indictment hearings.
Cleared means either the case was solved by an arrest, or the offender has been identified but not officially charged.
Chief Childress said it's extremely hard to actually prevent homicides from happening, what they can do though, is solve them.
The police department has cleared 92 percent of its homicide cases since 2007.
That's way above the 60 percent national average.
The department's focus is on the 4 cases this year that have not yet been solved.
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