Murder rates are down in the city of Mobile — about 35 percent over last year.

27 people were victims of criminal homicide in 2018, compared to 41 in 2017.

There were also nine other homicides, but those aren’t considered criminal because they were determined to be self-defense.

Of the 27 murders in 2018, just four are unsolved.

2018’s first murder happened on January 2. The victim, Mercedes Jackson, left behind four children,

The suspect Antonio Collier is on the loose after bonding out earlier in the year.

“Criminal homicide is usually a crime of passion,” said Mobile Police Chief Lawrence Battiste.

Chief Battiste said most murder cases in Mobile are a result of domestic incidents.

Some victims are caught in the crossfire.

Notably, the shooting death of officer Justin Billa in February, the shooting death of Anesa Baker — a 15-year-old girl — in April, and the year ended with the shooting death of 15-year-old Jakorian Smith while he was sleeping on the couch.

27 deaths, too many.

“How do we tell the victim’s family, you know, yeah we did have a reduction but we didn’t save your child’s life?” said Chief Battiste.

One of the resources Battiste credits for reducing homicide rates is hotspot policing.

A map shows the location of every criminal homicide this year in Mobile, a cluster of murders near Highway 45 and and I-165.

There’s another grouping south of Government Street and a few more map marks by Dauphin Island Parkway.

The chief says hot spot policing can help target zones that have heavy criminal activity.

“I need to allocate the resources to those areas that are experiencing heavy crime,” said Battiste.

He attributes that strategy to helping reduce criminal homicides.

“We try to focus on who the offenders are and we try to go to where the offenders are hanging out, or hiding out, or frequenting the most,” Battiste said.

Battiste says moving forward, they need the public’s help.

“I want to thank the community for all that they’ve done, and coming up we are going to ask them to be even more vigilant in 2019,” Battiste said.

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