Orlando Area Homicides Up 45%; Economic Woes Cited


The number of homicides in Orlando’s Orange County so far this year surpassed the total number of 2009 slayings on Monday when detectives were called out to investigate the 45th killing of the year, says the Orlando Sentinel. The news of a man’s slaying comes less than 72 hours after homicide victim No. 44 – 29-year-old Latrisha Wakefield – was found shot to death in an area notorious for violent crime and prostitution. Orange County slayings are up 45 percent compared with the same time last year, when there had been 31 homicides to date.

Motives behind homicides this year have varied widely – from domestic violence to robbery to some that are still unknown. That has made it more difficult for detectives to solve them, although about 60 percent of this year’s cases have been closed. “It’s very difficult to prevent a homicide,” said sheriff’s spokesman Jim Solomons. “Usually a homicide is a spur of the moment, emotional act.” Detectives and experts have long struggled to find a reason behind the rise and fall in homicides, and have mostly come up empty. Investigators have seen increases this year in domestic violence-related killings, which account for about one-third of homicides so far this year. University of Central Florida sociology professor Jay Corzine said those slayings could be tied to the economic collapse. “The poor economic conditions are affecting families,” Corzine said, adding that the high foreclosure rate in the county could also be a contributing factor.

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