Like dozens of other American cities, Orlando has seen a spike in violent crime this year–42 homicides so far, nearly doubling last year’s total of 22. There are a range of theories on the reasons, including escalating gang wars and turf fights among drug rings. The Police Executive Research Forum says the government’s focus on terrorism has directed federal money away from local law enforcement.
In Florida, however, the violence seems to have roots that are more complex, reports USA Today. Local authorities say homicides there often stem from robberies or drug-related disputes. Across the state, police are reporting spikes in violence after a decade of historically low crime rates. Homicides statewide were up 27% through the first six months of 2006 from the same period last year. Officials are now trying to decode Florida’s particular crime problems.