The Navajo Nation homicide rate increased from 34 homicides in 2012 to 42 homicides in 2013, according to new FBI statistics. Their homicide rate is four times the national average.
The number of murders in the Navajo Nation now surpasses cities with much bigger populations, such as Boston and Seattle. The Navajo Nation has the highest murder rate out of Indian reservations in the U.S., but it is also the largest reservation by far, both in size and population. It encompasses Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah and contains over 27,000 square miles with a population of almost 174,000 on the reservation alone, as of the 2010 census.
To put it in perspective, the next largest reservation in population, the Osage Reservation in Oklahoma, contains fewer than 48,000 people. The Navajo Nation also only has 280 police officers, far fewer than most urban cities off the reservation.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
"I don't think any city in the whole country has enough police officers," Navajo Nation Acting Police Chief Bobby Etsitty said, when asked by the New Times if there are enough police officers to handle the crime rate. "We do have officers that investigate major crimes and they work hand in hand with the FBI to get cases prosecuted."
According to the FBI, one out of every four violent crimes prosecuted by the Department of Justice occurs on Indian reservations. Tempe, which has a similar population size to the Navajo Nation, had 11 murders in 2012.
Follow Valley Fever on Twitter at @ValleyFeverPHX.