A record number of killings in August and a deadly September helped raise Kansas City's 2008 homicide total to the second-worst level in 10 years, reports the Kansas City Star. The city recorded 126 homicides for the year, a 34 percent increase above the 94 homicides recorded in 2007. The city's homicide record occurred in 1993, with 153.
Homicide totals across the U.S. have been trending up, said James Alan Fox, a professor of criminal justice at Northeastern University. He said a certain degree of fluctuation is expected in homicide totals from year to year. Factors such as ambulance response times and quality of medical care could make a difference between a homicide and an aggravated assault, he said. “If your homicide average is about 100, you could have a swing of about 20 homicides and it wouldn't be out of the realm of random possibilities,” Fox said.