Homicide rate triples in Lee Co. from 2015 to 2016

LEE COUNTY, AL (WTVM) - As 2016 winds down the Lee County's Coroner says based on his death certificates, the homicide rate has tripled, making 2016 the worst year he's experienced in his 18 year career.

"We are trying to combat it by more of a presence in the street, more uniformed officers and more patrol cars on the street to be as visible as possible," said Chief John McEachern with the Opelika Police Department.

Most of the murders involve victims and suspects who know one another. Motives range from theft to conflicts over drugs, money or petty arguments.

In all, 21 people were murdered in Lee County this year, with the various agencies making arrests in all but three of the cases.

As always, the public is vital to helping law enforcement in their investigations as well as preventing violence.

Safeguard your weapons and if you see something suspicious, report it immediately.

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