Since 2007, the Los Angeles Times has published The Homicide Report, an interactive blog that chronicles every “death of a human at the hand of another” and deemed a homicide by the coroner’s office. More than a collection of statistics, a story is told about each victim, whether implicated in the crime or not. The Chicago Sun Times similarly has Homicide Watch Chicago, “dedicated to the proposition that murder is never a run-of-the-mill story.” As we at Bio SoCal see in our business, homicide leaves behind a rippling, human devastation to family, neighborhoods and communities.
The Homicide Report interactive map and database provide some interesting general statistics. For example, Los Angeles County is responsible for 32% of all California homicides, and 4% of the murders in the country (in 2012). While Los Angeles County still has one of the highest murder rates in the country (7.7 per 100,000 people), the rate is down to almost half of what it was between 1992-1993.
But it is important to step aside from the numbers, and follow the site down to the stories of each of the victims and their families. For example, on April 6th, 2015, four men in one day were murdered, ranging in age from 18 to 48 years old, from all over the county: Tommie, Michael, Adam and Justin. And a few days earlier, on April 1st, four more people were shot to death: Denise, Ervin, Robert and Haroutoun. None of these murder victims had front-page stories attached to their deaths, but each of them likely left behind families and loved ones. These pictures and stories show that homicide is not just about rising or falling statistics; it’s about people.