SAN ANTONIO – In 2021, San Antonio police reported the highest homicide count since 1994, when the city was riddled with drive-by shootings and gang violence.
Last year, 160 people lost their lives at the hands of another person in San Antonio last year, according to police records obtained and analyzed by KSAT 12. The numbers may increase as police officials work on gathering the latest information.
The tally is higher than the most recent homicide spike in 2016, when 151 killings were reported in San Antonio. It’s the highest since 1994, when 194 homicides were recorded.
Don’t see the map below? Click here. It will continually be updated as SAPD provides more information on 2021 homicides.
Though most of the killings occurred inside the 410 Loop, the violence appeared to impact all sides of San Antonio - north, south, east and west.
Most of the homicides came as a result of a fatal shooting, the records showed. Roughly three in four of 2021′s homicides were due to gun violence.
Three separate days in 2021 saw three killings: May 24, August 15, September 24.
September was the deadliest month with 20 homicides and March saw the least number of slayings at eight.
The oldest victim was George Hines, 69.
The first homicide of 2021 happened early on New Year’s Day when U.S. Army Drill Sgt. Jessica Mitchell was fatally shot in her car off I-10.
“She was celebrating with her friends,” Ashley Mitchell, Jessica’s sister previously told KSAT. “She loved social media, so she was on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and all of that showing her having a jolly good time. When that celebration was over, she was going home, and she got shot up through her door on the highway.”
Police have put out information on the suspect vehicle, but the case has yet to be solved.
The last known homicide of 2021 in San Antonio happened on Dec. 30 in downtown San Antonio.
Leo Cameron, 47, was sleeping before a man came up to him and started a physical struggle. The suspect is believed to have pulled a gun on Cameron, killing him before running away down the Riverwalk.
Police recently released a surveillance image of the suspect.
Despite the numbers, police still believe San Antonio remains a safe place to live.
“Locally, San Antonio is still a safe city,” according to a statement from the police department. “Most homicides contain a nexus to risky behaviors that can be avoided, with the exception of family violence. If you’re not engaging in risky criminal behaviors, your chances of becoming a victim of violence are very low.”
Homicides are expected to increase along with population growth. San Antonio’s population has grown 8.1% over the past decade, according to the latest census estimate.
With a population of more than 1.4 million people, San Antonio’s homicide rate per 100,000 people stands at 11.15, lower than most other major American cities. Last year, the homicide rate in San Antonio was 8.3. In 1993, when 220 homicides were recorded in San Antonio, the homicide rate per 100,000 people was 22, according to data compiled by The Trace.
San Antonio is not alone. Across the country, major cities have seen years of declining crime rates erased during the coronavirus pandemic.
In 2020, the national murder rate grew by 29%, the largest percentage jump since the FBI began collecting the data in 1960.
Ten major American cities set new homicide records in 2021, according to CNN, including Austin.