COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Homicide rates in Colorado Springs and Pueblo are higher than they were last year, according to numbers collected from the cities' police departments on Wednesday.
There were four homicides in Colorado Springs from Jan. 1, 2012, to Feb. 20, 2012, and none in Pueblo during that period.
Jan. 1, 2013 to Feb. 20, 2013, there was seven homicides in Colorado Springs. During that same times there was one homicide and one justified homicide -- a man killed in an officer-involved shooting -- according to police.
A homicide lieutenant from the Colorado Springs Police Department said each homicide is so diverse there is no pattern to help predict the numbers.
The Pueblo Police Department said while its homicide number is up from last year, its yearly homicide number is consistent each year.
Michael Merson is a criminal justice professor at Pikes Peak Community College and a former Colorado Springs police officer. He said seven homicides since Jan. 1 is a high number for Colorado Springs. However he doesn't see this as an indication of higher crime in the city.
"Right now it's just a high locally and with the numbers continuing to drop, I'm going to imagine that we are going to see a lull where we won't have any homicides in the city," said Merson.
He said outside factors like the economy don't play into homicide numbers like they do with other crimes rates. He said it's hard to predict homicide rates each year. However, he said often times crimes will slow in the winter months and pick up in the summer.
He said national statistics indicate that homicide rates are going down every year. He said even though these are higher numbers for the area, he thinks Colorado Springs is a very safe community to live in.