Skip to Content

DIGGING DEEPER: Tucson sees surge in homicides

Remaining Ad Time Ad - 00:00

TUCSON (KVOA) - There has been dramatic increase in the number of homicides in the city this year. But is it due to the pandemic, the economy, drugs or something else?

According to Tucson Police Department, there have been 30 homicides so far this year.  

The latest two homicides occurred just this week.

Lt. Corey Doggett heads the violent crimes unit. They are at nine more than this time last year.

The Digging Deeper team asked why in the increase.

"I can't tell you why there has been one thing that has stood out as a catalyst about why those numbers have increased," Doggett said.

What he does know, if the trend continues by the end of the year, "We would average out at 90, I believe," he said.

Irma Garcia's son was one of those murdered in 2019. Jason was killed downtown after a physical altercation. No arrests have been made at this time.

She said the increase of homicides, "definitely is affecting me and other unsolved cases.  You wonder what is happening to mine.  Is my case put on the bottom of the pile of other cases they have to address?

James Gierke heads Homicides Survivors. The organization works with the families like the Garcia's who are left behind.

He said they have seen an increase in service.

"Our community is bleeding," Gierke said. "And it's something we're all very concerned about."

 Gierke added the level of violence is also concerning.

"We've seen an incredible spike in violent crimes and homicides as a hole in our community," Gierke said. "It has a deep and lasting impact on everybody who is affected."

The Pima County Sheriff's Department has had six homicides. This time last year they had seven.

"Your rural areas are always lower than in inner cities because of a number of things," PCSD Sheriff Chris Nanos said. "But the biggest issue is density, population."

Sheriff Nanos is a former homicide detective.

"I look more at what can we do to prevent it," he said.

Due to the increase in homicides, Tucson police added a detective and they are using other detectives from the violent crime units to assist in the homicide investigations.

"We want to make sure we don't lose quality when we have an increase in quantity," Doggett said.

So, while there are less officers on the street and more violent crime occurring in the city, the question is "Is Tucson safe?"

"I believe so," Doggett said.

Doggett added despite the high number of homicides they are solving the cases.

"Our closure rates our solvability rates on homicides well exceed the national average of 60 plus percent," he said. "Currently, over 80% solved rates."

 Lt. Doggett credits the community for helping police solve many of the cases.  

Irma Garcia is hoping that's who will help solve her son's murder.

"I would plead to the person to come forward they know they can remain anonymous call 88-CRIME," Garcia said. "Not just for the sake of my family but what if it were you and your loved one."

Author Profile Photo

Lupita Murillo

Lupita Murillo is an investigative reporter. She is part of the Digging Deeper team that uncovers important issues focusing on crime that affects the community.

Skip to content