Chattanooga hasn't had a single homicide in 2016 — the longest stretch without a killing in the city at the start of a new year in at least the last five years.
In 2015, the city made it just 20 minutes before the first person — 24-year-old Deoaunte Dean — was killed. His death was followed three hours later with the city's second homicide, 18-year-old Juan Boyd.
First homicide of the year
› 2016: —
› 2015: Jan. 1
› 2014: Jan. 5
› 2013: Jan. 10
› 2012: Jan. 7
› 2011: Jan. 6
Source: Times Free Press records
Since 2011, the longest Chattanooga has gone without a homicide at the start of the year was nine days in 2013.
"Every day that we can go without having someone hurting someone else, I think is just truly a blessing and I hope those days continue to add," said James Moreland, president of the Avondale Neighborhood Association. "Two days, 10 days, 20 days, one month, 3 months — I just encourage young people, old people not to hurt each other."
So far this year, four people have been shot in Chattanooga, but none of the victims were mortally wounded. At this time in 2015, three people had been shot and killed, and another eight people had been wounded by gunfire. One of the wounded was then-1-year-old Zoey Duncan, who is still paralyzed from the chest down a year after the attack.
One juvenile, whose age and name was not released, has been shot in 2016, according to Chattanooga police. The three other victims were 22, 19 and 24 years old.
Chattanooga police have not pinpointed a particular cause for the lull in violence this year, spokesman Kyle Miller said.
"However, we do believe the maturity of our intelligence gathering efforts, specified crime analysis and focused deterrence roles have provided a great deal of definite direction," he said. "This allows for contact with specific individuals involved in violence and helps distribute manpower in a more deliberate manner."
The 18-day stretch with no homicides is both surprising and comforting to Satedra Smith, whose 20-year-old son Jordan Clark was shot to death in August 2015. She's campaigned against Chattanooga's gun violence in the months after her son died.
She said she's not sure how long the stretch will last, but she's hopeful 2016 will be better than 2015, when 30 people were killed in Chattanooga.
"It's remarkable," she said. "I don't want to speak too early, because anything could happen. But I'm hoping the year of 2016 will be the start of a different type of mindset."
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