Yet another Tucson murder kicked off Wednesday morning’s e-mail in an announcement from Tucson police.

Tucson police car/Ryn Gargulinski

Officers found a man down with “obvious signs of trauma” around 4:20 a.m. near East 22nd Street and South Beverly Avenue. Details to follow.

This man’s death joins a long list of murders that has been plaguing Old Pueblo, with 14 since the beginning of August.

We’ve seen a total of 36 homicides in Tucson since Jan. 1, according to Tucson police statistics, higher than last year’s full total of 32.

It’s only September.

We were hoping a woman who was stabbed by her ex-roommate was on the road to survival, foiling at least one murder attempt.

But a comment and subsequent e-mail from a friend says she is in worse condition than police had disclosed and she may not make it.

Police have kicked off a violent crime initiative, according to an announcement from TPD, with more officers patrolling the streets for a 30-day period.

Another part of the initiative is paying attention to the reasons behind the homicides.

While gangs, drugs, robberies and home invasions are frequent contributing factors, we also note several homicides following random altercations – at a midtown bus stop, a townhouse courtyard, a bus ride fight between two teens. We are glad more police will be on the scene – but will that be enough to keep us safe?

The Tucson Police Department’s website offers crime prevention tips that range from auto theft to vacation safety, with the personal protection tips listed at the bottom of the post.

It would be impossible to dedicate a category to homicides, however, as we never know when someone will strike, or where. And perhaps most frightening, we may never know why.

Tucson homicides from Aug. 1 to Sept. 8

Pedro Rene Leon-Rodriguez, 32, was shot and killed Sept. 5 at a West Side mobile home park.

Jose G. Armenta, 61, was shot and killed and another man injured Sept. 3 following an altercation outside his home.

Thomas D. Wyman, 51, was found fatally stabbed Aug. 31 near a bus stop at North First Avenue and East Prince Road.

Michael A. Moreno, 25, was found dead in a courtyard Aug. 29 after a fight at Bella Vista Townhomes.

A man in his late teens to early 20s died Aug. 31 after being shot then dropped off at one hospital and transferred to another.

Darwin M. Wells, 36, was shot and killed Aug. 27 in the parking lot of the Golf Links apartment complex where he lived.

Christopher Montano, 27, was shot Aug. 26 while sitting in car near a food stand on East 36th Street.

Michael White, 20, was shot dead and three people wounded Aug. 25 during a home invasion at an East Side duplex.

Logan Kunkle, 24, was killed Aug. 20 during a robbery in an East Side home.

Kyle Jenkins, 16, was stabbed to death Aug. 19 after he and another teen were kicked off a Sun Tran bus for arguing.

Jorge Castillo, 36, was shot dead Aug. 18, allegedly by his stepson.

Anthony Duron, 21, was killed and four others injured Aug. 15 during an early morning shooting at Pearl Nightclub.

Julius Lat, 24, died Aug. 8, two days after he was shot during a group fight on the street.

Source: All info is from TPD news releases and previously posted on Rynski’s Day of the Dead

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Personal Protection tips from the TPD website:

Three elements are needed for a crime to occur:

* Target is the object of a person’s desire
* Desire is the motivating factor a person has for committing a crime
* Opportunity is a favorable forming of circumstance in which a crime can be cultivated

Take one or all three of these elements away and the crime will probably not be committed.

When out and about
The most effective weapon is using your head. The best ammunition is quick thinking, common sense, and alertness.
* Be assertive – Stand tall instead of slouching, walk as if you own the street, and make eye contact with people
* Be aware – Stay alert and continually look around you, avoid using headphones, never go home if you think you are being followed, and do not accept rides from strangers
* Be aware of your surroundings – Know what is going on around you, do not walk into unnecessary confrontations, and avoid shortcuts through vacant lots or other deserted areas

To fight back or not
* Not for personal property if the subject is armed
* Use a defensive weapon – Personal alarms or a whistle
* When resisting an attack – Incapacitate by striking a vulnerable spot (eyes, throat, groin), or create a distraction so you can flee

Defensive driving
* Always check the back seat and floor of your car before getting in
* Hit the horn if you feel someone is following you
* After parking your car, gather all items you are taking before getting out
* Park in well-lighted areas
* Always lock your car, whether parked or driving
* Keep the windows up
* Whenever possible, travel with another person

Using public transportation
* Prior to boarding: Use well-lit stops, stand near other people, and follow a schedule that minimizes your waiting time
* After boarding: Sit near the driver, beware of arguments or commotion, and above all beware of strangers

While at home
* Don’t answer the door if you feel uncomfortable with a particular situation
* Be cautious of strangers who want to use your phone (offer to call the police to assist them)
* Don’t let anyone lure you out of your home
* Don’t let babysitters entertain visitors in your home
* Never divulge personal information
* Admit “repairmen” only if you have an appointment with them
* Doors and locks: Always lock your doors and windows, install deadbolt locks on exterior doors, door hinges should be on the inside, make sure exterior doors are solid core, and your bedroom door should have a lock
* Lighting and visibility: Exterior doors should be well lit, create a barrier of light all the way around your home, place lights high enough to prevent tampering, and prune or transplant overgrown bushes and trees
* Apartment dwellers: Be careful in laundry rooms, don’t buzz or allow anyone in that you do not expect, know or trust, and don’t allow anyone to follow you into a building or hall

Remembering to implement these suggestions will help make you less of a Target. By removing that element, you can reduce or eliminate your chances of becoming a victim.

PLEASE NOTE: Before anyone starts saying this post is anti-police, which it is not, asking if more cops can keep us safe from homicides is in no way meant to put down police efforts. TPD is a fine force that does an awesome job. The question is meant to illustrate the point that some things, like homicides, may be beyond anyone’s control, no matter what is done to prevent them.

ALSO NOTE: The statistics and incident mentioned herein are homicides, not all deaths, in Tucson city limits, not including those reported from the Pima County Sheriff’s Dept.


What do you think?

What measures do you take to keep yourself safe?