COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - It was a deadly year for Columbus in 2017.
"It's not an issue that you can hide from, it's not an issue you can dress up or dress down. We have to address it," says Muscogee County Marshal, Greg Countryman.
Countryman says no matter which way you look at the homicide rate, it's too high, and it circles back into the crime rate.
"There is a high volume of homicides in Columbus, GA and there has to be a remedy. Crime is crime," says Countryman.
As of Dec. 29, according to the Muscogee County coroner, there have been 42 homicides in Columbus in 2017, and a majority of the homicides this year were due to gun violence.
Twenty-seven of the homicides were under the age of 30 and 18 of those were under the age of 25.
"It's very easy for younger people to get their hands on weapons," Countryman says.
All but three of the homicides in 2017 were caused by shootings, according to police.
The three others: In May a Columbus police officer struck a murder suspect who police say was fleeing his vehicle on Cusseta Road. That's when an unmarked police car, called as part of backup assistance, hit and killed the murder suspect.
Then on July 4th, a stabbing took place on the Fourth of July at Big Creek Place killing a thirty-six-year-old man.
Seven days later, a two-month-old girl from Columbus died in an Atlanta hospital after she was allegedly abused by her father. Police say the infant suffered from breathing problems, multiple skull fractures, and bruises throughout her body.
Overall, this year's numbers mean 14 more homicides than 2016's total of 28.
Countryman says we have to continue to face the issue, especially when educating the youth and working together as a community, including all elected officials holding office in Columbus.
"When we keep our kids busy with positive things, then it will yield positive results," says Countryman.
Countryman noted his office's Junior Marshal Program. He says its programs similar to these which allow younger generations to invest their time in educational programs which give the youth more chances to develop leadership skills and stray away from criminal activities.
To see a full list of links to each homicide of 2017 in Columbus, click here.