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Houston finishes 2021 with the most homicides the city has seen in decades

Homicides were up 71% in 2021 compared to 2019.

HOUSTON — The number of homicides in the City of Houston is up for the second year in a row.

As of Wednesday night, 473 people were killed by another person in 2021.

That is an 18% increase from 2020 to 2021 and a 71% increase from 2019 to 2021.

According to Crime Stoppers, the deadliest year was in 1981, when there were more than 700 homicides in the city.

Many of the homicides in 2020 received widespread attention. Some of them were attributed to road rage.

Houston police said a driver shot and killed 17-year-old David Castro as he and his father left an Astros game in July.

RELATED: Suspect charged in deadly road rage shooting of teen after Astros game released from jail on bond

Other homicides were related to domestic violence. In September, a very public murder-suicide happened in the lobby of the Marriot Marquis in the middle of the day.

RELATED: Couple who died in murder-suicide in lobby of Marriott Marquis had a violent history, court records show

Other deadly crimes were related to armed robberies. New Orleans Police Detective Everett Briscoe was killed outside of the Grotto restaurant in Uptown during a hold-up.

RELATED: 'We lost a good one' | Detective Everett Briscoe identified as New Orleans officer shot, killed at Galleria-area restaurant

Some of the homicides are still unexplainable. A man was shot and killed while on a date inside the Downtown Aquarium restaurant in July. Police say the shooter had been drinking at the bar, when for no reason, walked over to a couple and shot them.

RELATED: HPD: Husband, wife shot while sitting at bar inside Downtown Aquarium; gunman kills himself

“We’ve seen an increase in violence across the country, of course, COVID-19 exacerbated a lot of this,” said Rania Mankarios with Crime Stoppers. “We’ve seen people move to violence much quicker than in times past, we know that there’s an uptick in gang activity and drug activity and domestic violence.”

Mankarios said another contributing factor to the rise in homicides is that the crimes of repeat offenders are escalating once they are released from custody, sometimes going from aggravated assault to murder when they’re released.

The Houston Police Department declined to comment on the rise in homicides in 2021.

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