Detective says nothing to worry about with homicide increase

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COLUMBIA - The homicide rate in Boone County increased in 2015. The Boone County Sheriff's Department investigated five homicide deaths this past year in comparison to two in 2014.

Detective Thomas O'Sullivan has been with the department for more than 28 years and he said five homicides for Boone County was out of the norm.

O'Sullivan said the department has gone two or three years in the past without experiencing any homicides. Sullivan said there is no way to declare a reasoning for the increase, but he said he knows the population of Boone County is growing.

"We'll patrol areas that 25 years ago were big farms. Well now they have residential subdivisions on them so there's a lot more people living in the county, and whenever you have population growth, you're going to see an increase in criminal activity. That's just one of the growing pains," O'Sullivan said.

O'Sullivan said citizens in Boone County should not be worried. In Columbia city limits, there was one homicide within the past year O'Sullivan said.

The Columbia Police Department released a statement saying "crime rates fluctuate from year to year and homicide rates are no different."

O'Sullivan also said in a lot of the cases the department investigated, the victim knew the killer and it was over unresolved disputes. 

O'Sullivan said in order to cut down on homicides within the county, he encourages citizens to stop involving firearms in their disputes, and learn to talk out their differences.

O'Sullivan said he is optimistic the rate will drop in 2016.

[Editor's Note: The story was edited to correct the amount of time Detective O'Sullivan has been with the department. He has been with the department for 28 years and has worked as a detective for 12.]