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Des Moines sees uptick in homicides from 2021

DMPD says there's a few trends driving this number higher.

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In 2022, Des Moines police have responded to 21 homicides—an uptick from 2021, when 14 were recorded. 

If 2022 ends with 21 homicides, it will tie the number recorded back in 2020.  

"The one thing that stands out is a lot of these are narcotics transactions related," said Sgt. Paul Parizek of the Des Moines Police Department. "We've got at least six where there was an arranged meet up, and somebody went there with the intention of either buying or selling drugs and somebody went there with the intention of ripping somebody off. And it turned into a homicide."

Parizek adds that in each of the 21 cases, the victims and suspects knew each other. There wasn't a single random attack. 

Another trend on officer's radar: the number of guns being recovered.

"Over the past three years, we've averaged about 640 firearms that our officers take off the street a year," Parizek said. "We're up well over 730 this year, and a lot of those guns are coming out of the hands of kids who are 17-years-old or younger."

The last time Des Moines recorded more than 21 homicides was back in 2017, with 25. That was the most the city had seen since 1978. 

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