The total number of homicides at the 2016 mid-year mark in both San Diego county's jurisdiction and within the city's jurisdiction are on track to surpass the number of 2015 homicides, according to statistics from city and county officials. For the county, if homicides continue at their current pace, the number of murders could double from the 2015 total.
There have been 17 homicides so far in 2016 in the county’s jurisdiction, versus a total of 17 homicides for all of 2015. In the city's jurisdiction, there have been 28 homicides so far in 2016, versus 37 homicides for the entire year in 2015.
2016 has been a particularly violent and deadly year so far for San Diego, a city where homicide rates are usually among the lowest across the country’s largest cities, according to mid-year numbers.
The visuals from the first half of 2016 serve as a stark reminder of the violence.
Signs dotting a downtown street reading “Justice for Shauna Haynes,” a bright 21-year-old whose body was found stuffed into a suitcase and thrown away.
Neighbors outraged and shaken, describing blood-curling shrieks of women held at knife point in a Del Cerro home.
Aerials of a luxurious Rancho Santa Fe residence where irrational fears of bankruptcy led to a double murder-suicide.
“The locations are all over the board,” said Lt. Kenn Nelson of the San Diego Sheriff’s Department. “We’ve had them out in the East County. We’ve had them in the North County. We’ve had them in areas that are high-up in the socio-economic realm, but we’ve seen them in places that are also low on the socio-economic ladder, so it’s really all over the board this year.”
The homicide rate in the City of San Diego is relatively low compared to other major U.S. cities.
In the City of San Diego, homicides are on track to be up nearly 50 percent, if the current pace continues. So far, there have been 28 homicides in 2016, versus 37 homicides for the entire year in 2015, according to San Diego Police Department.
San Diego Homicide Captain Dave Nisleit was not available for a sit down interview Monday, but echoed Nelson’s comments, saying that the murders are happening all over the map and without a stand-out motive that authorities could try to address.
Both Nelson and Nisleit said the only identifiable trend is more knee-jerk violence happening between acquaintances in arguments or random disputes.
“It seems that people are turning to that violent act a lot sooner than they did in years past,” said Nelson.
Nelson said the lack of an identifiable trend contrasts greatly from 2015, when more than half the murders in the county were caused by domestic violence.
San Diego Sheriff's Officials (SDSO) were able to recognize that trend in motives and provide additional resources to address domestic violence before it became homicidal.
This year, Nelson said, is more difficult because “not one specific motive stands out.”
“We’ve had equal number of homicides that were because of gang issues, because of domestic violence issues, because of mental illness and because of just anger and arguments,” he said.
The deadly violence isn’t spilling into all areas of the county. For example, in Carlsbad, there were no homicides in 2015 or 2016. In Chula Vista, there have been no homicides so far in 2016, compared to two homicides in 2015.