PHOENIX — As crime rates surge across the country, Phoenix is seeing a slight drop in overall crime cases compared to the last few years, according to Phoenix Police Department data.
Since the start of the year, there have been 31,789 crimes reported in Phoenix. These include aggravated assault, arson, burglary, drug offense, larceny and motor vehicle theft, rape, robbery, and murder.
That total is a drop from the last two years where nearly 33,000 cases were reported in 2020 and more than 34,000 in 2019.
As the general number of crimes dropped, there were categories where the total of reports increased over the years.
Aggravated assaults have nearly doubled since 2016, with more than 3,500 so far in 2021.
As for murders, they are on the same pace as 2020, at nearly 90. But back in October, the Phoenix police department reported a spike, that resulted in an increase of more than 44% in homicides from 2019.
Families of gun violence victims calling for change
On March 19, 2017, Savannah Jeanne Walker was at The Tim Faulkner Gallery in Louisville, Kentucky attending a concert when she was shot and killed.
“Someone brought out a gun and they started shooting,” said Kim Brysselbout, Walker’s biological mother. “She was shot in the chest and died instantly.”
There were six other people injured in that shooting, but Walker was the only fatality.
The 20-year-old was enrolled at the University of Louisville and had a full-ride scholarship.
“She was amazing, she loved learning, loved people, she would give you the shift off her back,” Brysselbout said.
Brysselbout lives in Glendale, although she gave Walker up for adoption when she was a newborn, she saw her grow up and they connected throughout the years.
Walker’s death devasted Brysselbout but said she found comfort in Parents of Murdered Children (POMC), a national organization that serves as a support group for families affected by deadly crimes.
“We have about 87 new people coming to our conference,” said Beverly Warnock, executive director of POMC. “Most of them are from this area in Arizona, so definitely the violence is really a problem here.”
POMC is hosting its national conference in Scottsdale this weekend where families of violence victims come together to heal.
Warnock said although the organization doesn’t pick sides on gun topics, a solution to stop the rising violence must come from leaders. Adding that it can begin with education.
“Starting maybe when they are in third grade when they are starting to learn right and wrong, and can understand things like that,” she said.
Meanwhile, Walker’s case is still unsolved, the murderer is still on the loose and has not been identified.
Brysselbout remains hopeful the killer will be caught, and gun violence will soon stop.
“Nobody wants to be a part of this club, where families are joined by tragedy,” Brysselbout said.
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