"Justifiable homicides" dropping crime rate

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KATV) -- As the year comes to an end, Little Rock Police are redefining how they record killings in the city, and it’s consequently dropping the homicide rate.

This past year, there were 55 recorded homicides in Little Rock, but that number has dropped to 53.

How, you ask? It’s called a “justifiable homicide”, a killing that no longer counts in the city’s overall homicide tally for the year.

Any officer-involved shooting or act of self-defense could now be considered justifiable, according to police.

“When we learn better, we do better,” Lieutenant Michael Ford with LRPD said.

He explained that while LRPD was recently reporting the city’s homicide number to the FBI, they learned about a new way to define the killings.

“That’s the misconception is that people believe that the homicide numbers that we’re taking off is bringing down the crime rate,” Ford said, adding that it doesn’t even put a dent in the city’s crime rate.

“We just want to identify numbers and show their true value,” Ford explained.

This past year there were 55 recorded homicides, originally making 2017 the second-most dangerous year in history. But because the prosecutor’s office justified two officer-involved shootings, that number went down to 53, putting 2017 in third place for highest homicide rate.

“One goes in the ground and two go in jail. Either way, it’s life destroyed,” said James Jacobs, a citizen of Little Rock for more than three decades.

The fact that 2017 was a rough year doesn’t come as a surprise to Jacobs.

“I just can’t understand why people can’t get along with each other,” he exclaimed.

But it was the year 1993 that took the cake for most homicides in city history, with a whopping 76 killings.

“I’ve lived through the nineties. I’ve had my life threatened two or three times,” Jacobs added.

The years 2006 and 2007 both tie, coming in as second-most dangerous, with a total of 54 homicides.

Little Rock is also among three cities whose violent crime rates contributed to their state’s overall crime rate, according to USA Today.

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