Coast Murders Are On The Rise

The Coast Crime Commission released new statistics about South Mississippi's murder rate.  So far this year, area police departments have investigated 30 murders. And that number does not include four weekend killings. There were only 22 murders all of last year.

Alan Bond is the Biloxi Police Department's death investigator. He gets called to scenes when deaths seem suspicious. Bond says part of his job is "to help get some closure and help people get answers as to why their loved one died or how it happened."

Four of Biloxi's deaths this year were murders. Bond said that total included Friday's killing of a two year old child. "For some of the officers who have children," Bond said, "it makes it much harder. Because those people are relating that dead child to one of their children or something that makes it hit close to home."

The four murders doubled Biloxi's total from last year. It's the same story for most coast police departments. Through October, officers in Harrison, Hancock and Jackson Counties worked 30 homicides. That's a 50% increase over 2000. Ten of those murders were in the city of Gulfport.

Steve Barnes is Gulfport assistant police chief. "We've identified motives," Barnes said, "and they vary from drug related homicides to domestic related homicides and in some cases where acquaintances have become in a dispute which led to a homicide."

Barnes said three of Gulfport's murder cases remain unsolved. "It does get frustrating when you're trying to clear these and you just run into some obstacles along the way," said Barnes.