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Homicides up 68 percent in Buffalo while only three of this year's killings have been solved

Homicides are up 68 percent in Buffalo over the first eight months of the year, and police have solved just three of the 32 killings, according statistics on the Buffalo Police Department’s website.

Seven people were shot to death in August, making it the deadliest month of the year so far.

The police department’s website lists only three of this year’s homicides as “cleared,” but Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said he expects arrests in several cases over the next couple weeks.

Detectives also have solved cases from previous years during 2016, which would boost this year’s clearance rate, Derenda said.

The commissioner said late last week he did not immediately have specifics on those other solved cases.

The number of killings so far this year puts the city on pace for 48 homicides, a figure that would eclipse last year’s total by six.

There are periodic spikes in violence that sway the overall numbers, Derenda said, like one that happened last September when 12 homicides occurred that month.

“We never forget any of these cases,” Derenda told reporters Friday as the city announced it would be offering rewards for five unsolved shootings, including three homicides.

The commissioner said detectives believe they are close to solving each of the five: the fatal shootings of Dalen Smith, Christina Banks and Shakila Cottrell; as well as the shootings of Donnell Bibbes, 8, and Juan Rodriguez, 11, which have left both in critical condition.

While the number of homicides in Buffalo is up in the first two-thirds of the year compared to last year, last year’s total of 19 was a bit of an anomaly compared to the last decade.

Last year’s total, through August, was the lowest of the prior nine years. Before last year, the number of killings through August ranged between 28 and 42 since 2007, according to department statistics.

Over the last 10 years, the largest homicide total through August came in 2009, with 42 people killed.

Of the 32 people killed in the city so far in 2016, 28 were shot to death.

In the month of August, at least 34 people were shot; seven died and 27 were wounded, the Buffalo News found analyzing Buffalo police reports.

There were at least another 27 incidents of gunfire where property was damaged but there were no reported injuries, the News’ analysis found.

email: abesecker@buffnews.com

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