WASHINGTON — The 11 violent deaths reported in Prince William County so far this year exceed the total number of homicides for all of 2015, but police say there’s no cause for alarm.
“They’re not usually random occurrences. There’s sometimes a drug element or gang element or a domestic violence element to it,” said Prince William County Police Sgt. Jonathan Perok.
The unpredictability of those types of deaths, Perok said, can make homicide rates vary greatly from year to year.
“In 2006, we spiked at 16 (homicides). And then we dropped as low as two in 2012. So, there isn’t really a pattern. There isn’t a consistency, or trend or anything with them,” Perok said. “Any loss of life in these cases is tragic, and we hope to have zero homicides at some point.”
Official crime statistics reflect that there were 10 violent deaths in Prince William County last year, but there really were just nine. A case from 2014 was included in the 2015 figures because that’s when the death was ruled a homicide.
“Of the nine (homicides), we still have one that’s unsolved,” Perok said.
Five of this year’s eleven homicides in Prince William County happened last month.
“We are still actively investigating those cases,” Perok said.
Recently released crime statistics for 2015 show that crime overall in Prince William County is down.
“And it’s continued to drop over the past several years,” Perok said — even as the county’s population has grown.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the county has grown more than 12 percent in the past five years.
© 2016 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.