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Homicides In St. Joseph County (Indiana) In 2020 Double 2019's Numbers


St. Joseph County has reported 40 homicides this year, more than any other year since the County Metro Homicide Unit began keeping track in 1993.


St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter says Metro Homicide recorded more thandouble the number of homicides this year as compared with 2019.

It’s a dramatic jump, but Cotter says St. Joseph County isn’t alone in seeing an increase. 

“Homicides have substantially upticked throughout the United States, especially in areas that have larger populations,” Cotter said.

He says it’s difficult to find common threads as to why all these homicides occur – he says they’re often unplanned, and happen in the heat of the moment. But, he thinks the COVID-19 pandemic has had some effect on the increase.

“Life has been artificial for the last nine months. So, dealing with our anger, dealing with how to resolve a dispute is different,” Cotter theorized.

Cotter says once people are able to resume work, school, and normal social activity without the fear of getting sick, he expects homicides and other violent crimes may begin to trend down.

Until then, he says community involvement and compassion will be “powerful tools” to reduce violent activity in 2021.


According to the Associated Press, Detroit, New York, Philadelphia and other cities have topped 2019 numbers as violence surged while much of the U.S. struggled during the coronavirus pandemic. 


Detroit Police Chief James Craig says people are failing to manage disputes and often using guns to settle them. Authorities and some experts say there is no one clear-cut reason for the spike.


They instead point to social and economic upheaval caused by the coronavirus, public sentiment toward police following George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis police custody and a historic shortage of jobs and resources in poorer communities as contributing factors.


Gemma DiCarlo comes to Indiana by way of Athens, Georgia. She graduated from the University of Georgia in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and certificates in New Media and Sustainability. She has radio experience from her time as associate producer of Athens News Matters, the flagship public affairs program at WUGA-FM.