Last year, police in Anchorage said they were troubled by a mysterious spike in murders. This year has been even worse. Police say they have determined that a man whose body was found outside the Alaska city was murdered in Anchorage, making it a record 35 homicides for the year, with almost three weeks to go, KTOO reports. The previous record was set last year, which had 34 homicides, way over what police said is the usual range of 12 to 24 killings per year. Before 2016, the year with the most homicides in Anchorage was 1995, with 29.
Anchorage Police Chief Justin Doll told reporters this week that most of the cases involved victims and suspects who knew each other, and were often "involved in criminal activity together." Some 23 of the cases have been closed, meaning a suspect has been charged or the killing was deemed justified. The Anchorage Daily News reports that this year's tally includes two triple killings. In February, an apartment fire that killed three people was determined to be caused by arson. In September, a man who got into an argument with a gold shop owner shot and killed three people. (Read more Anchorage stories.)