Columbia's 2017 Homicide Total is Highest Since 2000

Dec 4, 2017

Credit Meiying Wu / KBIA

Nine people have been killed in homicides so far this year, the most in more than 15 years — and there’s one month left.

Between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30, there have been nine reported homicides in Columbia, and almost all of the victims were black, according to data from the city. The number of homicides is tied with the highest number the city has seen in an entire year since at least 1985, the earliest data is available.

The city had nine homicides in 1994 and 2000, according to city data.

Jill Schlude, the Columbia Police Department’s deputy police chief, said the department was discussing the rise in homicides and their “root causes.”

“Based on the current information we have about this year’s homicides,” she wrote in an email Friday night, “we believe they all have some type of drug/gang activity or domestic aspect. Crimes such as homicide, especially involving domestic violence, are hard to predict, but we certainly believe that several of these involving drug/gang activity are interrelated.”

On a per capita basis, Columbia had about 10.6 homicides for every 100,000 people in 2000. It has had about 7.5 homicides for every 100,000 people in 2017 so far.

The number of homicides includes the death of Clarence Coats Jr., who was shot by police officers in May.

Eight of the nine people murdered so far in 2017 were black, according to the city’s data. And this pattern has held true for the past several years, as well.

Between January 2012 and Nov. 30, 2017, 30 people have been killed in homicides. Of those, 23 have been black people, according to police department data.

The homicide victims from 2017 were:

Last year, there were six reported homicides, and, in 2015, there was only one.