Homicide Investigations Underway in Douglas County

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Wed, October 23 2013 at 6:13 PM, Updated: Wed, October 23 2013 at 7:36 PM

Four people dead in the span of four days from three separate incidents, that's what Douglas County authorities are faced with.

Officials in Douglas County are going through evidence and looking for a suspect in the latest shooting that occurred on Tuesday night in Winchester just north of Roseburg. The incident left two people dead. In addition, authorities said there's so far been no arrest in Sunday's homicide in Myrtle Creek.

One detective with the Douglas County Sheriff's Office said already, they've investigated more murders this year than usual.

"We're relatively comfortable saying there is no threat remaining here today. We're making the presumption the person responsible for this crime is out of the area," said Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin.

When it comes to Jackson County, according to the medical examiner's reports, it looks like the homicides have been trending up slightly as well over the last few years.

According to data out of the Jackson County Medical Examiner's office, here's how the homicides stack up:

2012 - 10 homicides

2011 - 10 homicides

2010 - 7 homicides

2009 - 4 homicides

2008 - 5 homicides

2007 - 4 homicides

2006 - 5 homicides

2005 - 6 homicides

2004 - 6 homicides

When it comes to Southern Oregon as a whole, from Douglas County down through Ashland, from the coast to Klamath County, according to the FBI crime statistics database, murder and non-negligent manslaughter went from 12 in 2009, to 15 in 2010 and 2011, then dropped off to seven in 2012.

"The first thing is I want to know what's going on. Are we dealing with gang activity here [...] Sometimes there's drug violence involved," postulated Clinical Psychologist Dr. Douglas Col.

However, if none of those factors are involved, the uncertain economic climate isn't helping.

"Anytime people are economically stressed, you get those kinds of behaviors."

Dr. Col said he did his dissertation on how literacy affects impulse control. He believes a person's capacity to read and/or write may play a role in someone's tendency to be violent. The Department of Justice also reportedly agrees, saying illiteracy is closely linked to crime.  He used a judge in the midwest who ordered convicts to read books as an example.

"People convicted of crimes [had to] read books and write reports on the books and the recidivism rate went way down because their literacy went up."

According to Dr. Col, also part of the problem is the idea of "community" has changed.

"It's like living in a neighborhood and only having your friends from far away over and never actually getting to know the people living right next to you. So the whole notion of community is going away," said Dr. Col.

He said there are societies where violence is not the cultural norm, but when asked how Americans could reach that norm...

"Goodluck," laughed Dr. Col.

Meanwhile, over in Klamath County, an official said they've also investigated more murders than usual already in 2013. So far this year, Jackson County has had three murders.

Nationally, according to the FBI crime statistics database, both murder and violent crimes were up in 2012 as compared to 2011.

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About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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