San Antonio saw a 61 percent increase in homicides over the past year — 151 murders total — making 2016 the city's deadliest in 21 years. This is the highest homicide rate increase from 2015 out of the country's twenty largest police departments.
This data, however, doesn't exactly come as a surprise. By August, the San Antonio's homicide count had surpassed the city's total for 2015. This came shortly after the FBI released startling new data on the city's violent crime rate — at 5.9 crimes committed per 1,000 people, the city had far surpassed the country's 2.8 average.
San Antonio police still appear stumped by this uptick. “What we’re seeing now is a lot of spontaneous murders,” SAPD Chief William McManus told the San Antonio Express-News. “It’s really difficult to put a reason on it.” This hardly differs from McManus' August reaction of "there are no fact-based reasons why this is happening."
In November, SAPD spokesman Sgt. Jesse Salame told us there were a large number of "family violence murders" or "relationship-type murders" last year, but it's unclear if the number was anything but expected. Meanwhile, criminologists say this rise may be partly linked to San Antonio's significant population growth over the past few years, or possibly even certain "social characteristics" – like San Antonio being the most economically segregated city in the country.
“We don’t know what’s behind [the rise in murders]. I don’t know if anybody does," Salame told the Current in November. "There are very smart people all around the country that are trying to figure this out.”
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