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Las Vegas Homicide Rate Dramatically Higher

Police detectives are working to solve Las Vegas' latest murder. A man was gunned down Wednesday and the killer is still on the loose.

What's alarming is that homicides this year are up dramatically. Metro had investigated 15 homicides by this time last year. So far in 2009, police say that number is already up to 28 deaths. That's an 87-percent increase.

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Detectives work long hours to solve these crimes and this year, their caseload is on the rise.

Gunfire shattered the quiet of the neighborhood of D Street and Alexander. Metro Police rushed to the area after shots rang out. It was a call they're all too familiar with this year.

"This is definitely a homicide. The victim was shot, it appears to be multiple times," said Metro Homicide Lt. Lew Roberts.

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The man met with foul play and left for dead on the street is metro's 28th homicide case of 2009. That's one homicide nearly every three days.

"It's a hard pill to swallow," said one resident. "It's sad. Basically it's sad anytime somebody looses their life."

North Las Vegas Police have also seen an increase homicides. Their count for the year stands at five. Last year by mid-March, three people were murdered. But Sgt. Tim Bedwell says you shouldn't read too much into the numbers at this point, "When you're analyzing statistics, you need a much longer period of time to determine whether this is a serious threat or just an anomaly."

Last year's homicide rate in North Las Vegas was one of the lowest in years.

Henderson Police have not seen an increase in their jurisdiction. Their homicide count for 2009 stands at one, exactly where it was one year ago.

Metro Homicide Detectives have seen some cases this year with unusual circumstances. A man stabbed to death at a Walmart on Boulder Highway over a shopping cart hitting a car. A doctor shot to death by an elderly patient she was caring for. A man accused of killing his wife, in part, over money troubles. In North Las Vegas, a Nellis Airmen killed himself and his wife.

It may be a bad start, but police say it's far too soon to declare this a deadly and dangerous year.

"Homicides are one of those things that they're unpredictable. You can't look at crime trends and know where to be to prevent a murder like maybe you can burglaries, or some of the other things that happen in mass in different areas," said Sgt. Bedwell.