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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – For the last three years, homicides in St. Louis County and its municipalities have gone up, with each passing year setting a new record high.

“We were alarmed last year with a new record; it’s even more alarming this year,” said Detective Matt Crecelius, business manager for the St. Louis County Police Association.

In 2016, there were 38 homicides. That number jumped to 55 in 2017. And with a few weeks left in 2018, there have been 58 homicides. That total doesn’t include several more cases being investigated as suspicious deaths, which could push the final number higher.

“When we’re spending thousands of hours investigating homicides, the robberies and sexual assault cases go to the backburner,” Crecelius said.

The county only has so many detectives in the homicide, robbery, and sexual assault unit. Not only are they investigating county homicides but also helping municipalities who are often asking for help.

“The Catholic Supply store murder took over 3,000 to 4,000 man-hours to investigate and follow up on,” Crecelius said.

Det. Crecelius said more guns on the street, increased robberies, and carjackings were some of the reasons why homicides appear to be on the rise. He also said if money is cut from the county police budget, which the county council is proposing, homicides will not decrease.

“Absolutely not! There is no way to cut out 50 positions and $5 million and expect crime to go down,” he said.