YORK COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM) – The York County Coroner’s Office is reporting a record number of homicides in 2017.
“This has been the highest number that we’ve ever had,” York County Coroner Pam Gay said.
York County Deputy Coroner Claude Stabley has worked at the coroner’s office for two decades and has never seen homicide numbers so bad.
“The highest we had prior to this was 21,” Stabley said.
Gay says York County had 27 homicides in 2017. That’s up from 17 in 2016 and a 58 percent increase. York City had 16 of the 27 homicides. Gun violence is responsible for 20 murders.
“It just seems like people don’t resolve things rationally anymore,” Gay said. “They resort to weapons. That’s generally what we see. They argue, and then they use their weapons.”
“One of the components of the homicides that we always deal with are domestic violence issues,” Stabley said.
The coroner’s office believes drug crimes, especially drug trafficking, could be to blame for part of the increase.
“Somebody’s at the wrong place at the wrong time, and they’re the innocent victim,” Gay said.
Gay says her numbers may be slightly different than the county’s because her office classifies a homicide as a “death at the hands of another person.”
“When I hear those numbers, clearly that’s something I’m not happy with,” York County District Attorney Dave Sunday said.
Sunday became DA this week and is already trying to find ways to reduce homicide numbers by working with the York City Police Department.
“There’s no quick fix,” Sunday said. “What I want to do is work with the interim police chief, which is what I have been doing, and that is to put together a long-term sustainable plan to not just make a difference in a day but to hopefully make a different for a long time to come.”
Sunday plans to release his strategy for reducing homicides within the next few weeks.