No matter what people call them, homicides or murder, the numbers are up again in Jacksonville, men, women and children who died violently in Jacksonville in 2017 in a tally that has grown over the past two years.

As of Thursday evening, 133 deaths were tallied on’s 2017 Homicide Tracker(, compared to 2016’s total of 120 and 113 in 2015.

Homicides include justifiable deaths and police-involved shootings, while murders are the illegal taking of a life, according to Sheriff Mike Williams. He said the murder rate increase is a bit lower than the homicide rate listed on the Times-Union’s database.

The Sheriff’s Office is working on reducing that number via new technology and more officers, he said. Regardless, 2017’s deaths, including some as young as 1, are much more than numbers, he said.

“Any one of these is a tragedy, so when we talk numbers, it is easy to get into the conversation statistics,” Williams said. “ … We are digging into violent crime, aggravated batteries and homicides deeper than we ever have before in terms of how we analyze them. So if you look at the overall homicide numbers in the count for this year, one thing jumps out that is consistent over the last couple of years. We know we have a relatively small number of people driving this significant portion of this violence.”

At least 97 of this year’s victims were shot to death, while the others were beaten, stabbed or run over.

Seven were killed in police-involved shootings.

Overall, four-fifths of the dead were men. One of every five died on a Saturday. And about 20 percent of them died in one ZIP Code — 32209. That ZIP Code, bordered by Soutel Drive, Beaver Street, North Old Kings Road and West Moncrief Road, also had the highest number of homicides in 2016.

The Sheriff’s Office has instituted a number of new methods to battle crimes in the city.

After adding 65 new police officers during the last two years, Mayor Lenny Curry’s budget gave the Sheriff’s Office enough money to hire as many as 80 more officers. Williams said they won’t be on the street until 11 months of academy and training occur, although he hopes to see 80 more hired after them.

The Sheriff’s Office’s new street gang “group violence intervention” strategy initiates face-to-face talks between officers and the estimated 800 men and women who are tracked in 40 gangs, warning them about the ramifications of their actions. So far, more than 100 men and women have been spoken to, police said. One of them was arrested in November, a month after the interview, as part of a sweep of Problem Child Entertainment, a gang masked as a music group but involved in violent crime, police said.

A technology called ShotSpotter, a network of microphones in a five-mile violence-prone area of Northwest Jacksonville, helps officers track down and respond to gunshots quickly.

A pilot program on body cameras continues, the Sheriff’s Office just received a Department of Justice grant to begin buying the version the testing confirms as best, Williams said.

The Sheriff’s Office’s new integrated ballistic identification system (IBIS) system, which can identify a gun from the mark it leaves behind on a shell and help find the shooter quicker than in the past, came on line the week before Christmas.

None of this will quickly stem the tide of murders, Williams said. But efforts dedicated to stopping the violence at its roots will “start to chip away” at the issues that cause them to commit crimes, like lack of education or jobs.

“Some people are never going to conform. They will always violate the law. We can handle that,” the sheriff said. ” … There are lot of people on the periphery of this that make bad decisions and wind up in prison. If we can impact that area … and get half of these guys to make better decisions and take us up on an offer of getting a job, training or GED. If they can at least divert, it may well stick”