JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - With 115 days left in 2020, the Capital City has already tied last year’s number of homicides -- 83 -- and could become the deadliest year in Jackson’s recorded history, according to a 3 On Your Side analysis of individual cases and information provided by the Jackson Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The analysis found people are killing others at a faster rate in Jackson this year than at any other time in the city’s history -- on average, one every 72 hours -- and would result in thirty-eight more killings if the rate continued for the rest of 2020.
That estimation would leave Jackson with 121 homicides, the highest number by far in the city’s recorded history, which eclipses 1995′s previous all-time record of 92, according to FBI data.
Thus far, killings in the Capital City are up 34 percent over the same time period last year, traced to a steadily increasing spike that began in mid-July and has been escalating ever since.
While JPD Police Chief James Davis has said that violent crime is a problem across the nation -- and a recent New York Times analysis showed several major cities have seen sharp increases in homicide amid the coronavirus pandemic -- Jackson’s homicide rate, at 51.67 killings per 100,000 people, stands out.
An analysis of twenty major cities shows the Capital City’s homicide rate ranks second, above Baltimore, New Orleans, Chicago and Atlanta.
Only St. Louis has a higher rate of killings than Jackson, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau and crime data from those cities’ police departments.
Data maintained by 3 On Your Side indicates part of that spike in killings could be caused by a rise in gun violence. At least 194 people have been shot or killed since the year began, a 24 percent increase over the same time last year.
However, in most of the city’s homicide investigations, the relationship between the victim and the assailant isn’t known, nor is it revealed what led to the killing. That lack of information provided to the public -- and possibly investigators, too -- means for most of 2020′s killings, it’s not clear how many were truly random.
Most of the killings take place in Precincts 2 (west/downtown) and 3 (northwest/Lake Hico area); the majority of shootings happened in Precinct 3, records show.
3 On Your Side maintains a database listing every person injured or killed by gunfire in the city, using JPD news releases in email and social media to compile the information. That means that, unless JPD informs the public about a shooting with injury, it will not be counted in our analysis.
3 On Your Side does not attempt to track shootings that do not result in injury because the department may not send out emails for every “shots fired” call.