SAN ANTONIO - The San Antonio Police Department said officers believe the city is still safe despite a new report from the Wall Street Journal which stated that, of the twenty largest police departments in the country, SAPD saw the biggest murder rate increase nationwide.
The homicide rate jumped 61 percent from 2015 to 2016, with a total of 151 by the end of the year.
SAPD Sgt. Jesse Salame said that most of these incidents were not random.
"The vast majority of cases that we saw were acquaintance type situations, drug deals gone wrong," Sgt. Salame said.
It was the most number of homicides the city had seen since 1995. SAPD said districts one and two on the east side saw the most violence.
"A lot of that was related to some social groups, some specific social groups, where a small number were responsible for a large number of crimes and murders," Sgt. Salame said.
Police said they're taking a proactive approach to the numbers.
"We've brought back the foot patrol on the east side to try to combat the open air drug markets while also making connections with residents that you wouldn't normally make in a police car. Our safe units have been very active and again it's not just about enforcement it’s about engagement," he said.
Sgt. Salame said the influx in murder cases has caused a strain on their workload, but he assures residents that detectives are committed solving these murder cases and bringing criminals to justice.
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