As of December of 2020, the number of murders in Arizona by year was increasing drastically. Murders in Phoenix, Arizona, specifically, were up almost 20% from 2019. It seems Arizona murders are statistically high and only seem to be rising, while the overall crime rates in Phoenix have been steadily falling over the past few years.
Maricopa County is one of the largest counties, population wise, located in central Arizona. The county includes some of the biggest cities in the state, including Phoenix, Scottsdale, Chandler, Mesa, and Glendale. There are more murders in Maricopa County, Arizona, than there are in most, if not all, other counties in the state. Some of the unsolved central Arizona murders in this area include the 2001 murder of Brian Coney Adams, the 1991 murder of Nicole Molly Aguilera, the 2015 murder of Henok Woldu, the 2003 murder of Stephone Wickware, and the 1999 murder of Richard Tapia, along with other cold case disappearances, such as the 1988 disappearance of Myron Timell Traylor. Some of the most famous murderers in Arizona include Jodi Arias, Robert Fisher, Jason Derek Brown, Valerie Pape, and many others, including serial killers.
Unsolved Arizona Murders
Unlike many local and state law enforcement agencies that fail to offer clear information on cold cases in their area, the City of Phoenix has a complete list of all of the unsolved murders Phoenix, Arizona. Some of these Phoenix, Arizona, cold cases and unsolved Arizona murders include the 2001 murder of Brian Coney Adams, the 1991 murder of Nicole Molly Aguilera, and the 2004 murder of Bertha Altamirano, among many others. This website also includes resources regarding missing people and how families of victims can stay in contact with law enforcement as their case progresses.
Coconino County, which is located in the northeastern portion of Arizona, is one of Arizona’s largest counties by area and is home to over 141,000 residents. Coconino County has its own list of unsolved murders in Arizona, including most of the northern Arizona unsolved murders and east Arizona unsolved murders. Some of these cold cases include the 1971 murder of gas station and diner owner Merrit McCalister, the 1987 murder of Ina Langstaff, the 1997 murder of Penny Rodriguez, and the 2003 murder of Darwin Sheppard, along with many other cold case disappearances, such as the 1988 disappearance of Myron Timell Traylor.
Although many of the biggest unsolved murders in Arizona often remain unsolved for decades, it is vital to recognize the hard work and long hours put in by investigators who work tirelessly to solve these cold cases. Some Arizona cold cases that have been solved in recent years, or have at least resulted in arrests, include the 1978 murder of Fernando Calleros, the 2001 disappearance of Alissa Turney, the 2010 murder of Luis Victor Mendoza, and the 1978 murder of Dean Thoms, among many others. Unsolved murders Arizona are continuing to be solved, some at a faster pace than others, but it is at least important that we collectively see progress being made.
More than 200,000 unsolved cases have gone cold since 1980, and murder clearance rates continue to drop. With equity for BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other underserved victims not prioritized in the true crime community—together we can do better.
Famous Arizona Murders
The state of Arizona is home to many notorious Arizona criminals and has been the location of many famous Arizona murders. From Jodi Arias, Robert William Fisher, and Valerie Pape, to lesser-known serial killers, the state is filled to the brim with infamous Arizona murders. Quick Google searches for “list of murders in Arizona,” “all murders in Arizona,” or “list of Arizona murders” will result in not only these lists, but also a handful of famous murders in Arizona such as those listed above, but also other Arizona famous murders, such as Robert Benjamin Smith, the first copycat mass murderer in the United States; the abduction and murder of Isabel Celis and Maribel Gonzalez; and Mark Goudeau, also known as “The Baseline Killer.”
Homicide Rate in Arizona
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Report, in 2019, the homicide rate in Arizona was 7.3, meaning that in 2019, 7.3 per 100,000 residents of the state were murdered. The violent crime rate in Arizona as of March of 2021 was around 455.3 per 100,000 residents, and the violent crime rate in Phoenix, Arizona, the state’s largest city, as of 2019 was around 732.57 per 100,000 residents.
You may find yourself asking, “Why is Arizona’s crime rate so high?” Well, Arizona’s total population is over 7.2 million, so the crime rate is bound to be somewhat high due to the crowded population in big cities. Not much can be said as to how many murders in Arizona 2021 or how many murders in Phoenix, Arizona, 2021 quite yet, but based on the Phoenix Police Department’s Uniform Crime Report for 2020, there had been over 187 homicides. Arizona murders rate seems to be worsening year by year, as law enforcement officials try to fight against it, hoping they’ll be able to at least raise the clearance rates, but more importantly, lower the homicide rate.
Maricopa County Murders
Maricopa County is the county with the highest population in Arizona, with over 4.3 million residents as of 2020. Maricopa County is home to some of the most populated cities in the state, including Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Chandler, and Glendale, all of which have a population of over 247,000 residents. Maricopa County murders are frequent, and often go cold and remain unsolved for extended periods of time. Due to the large number of murders and cold cases in Maricopa County alone, you can find Maricopa County murders trial information and Maricopa County murders evidence in some cases easily. Other cases do not have much information, such as Maricopa County murders crime scene photos, which are often saved for the trial.
Phoenix, Arizona Murders
Unsurprisingly, Phoenix, Arizona, murders rate is the highest mainly due to its dense population and size. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Report, in 2019 there were 131 murders in Phoenix, Arizona. Many of these Phoenix murders bring about constant Phoenix murders discussion online via social media sites and online forums. Although it may be extremely difficult to find Phoenix murders pictures, Phoenix murders crime scene photos, and Phoenix, Arizona, murders autopsy photos for most unsolved cases, there is plenty of detailed information regarding solved cases online.
Sadly, the Phoenix Police Department has a backlog of almost 2,400 unsolved murders, which they describe as cold cases because they have not received any new leads in at least a year. Although this seems overwhelming, many of these unsolved murders, even those which have remained unsolved for decades, are being solved using new and improved DNA technology. Phoenix murders DNA evidence was used to solve many cases in recent years, including the 1984 murder of Aimee See, the 1989 sexual assault and murder of Laura Hundling, the 1987 murder of Marilyn Johns, and the 1998 murder of Habib Raies, among many others.
Arizona Serial Killers
Among the many Arizona killers that have resided in Arizona over the years, there is a small list of serial killers in Arizona. Some of the lesser-known Arizona serial killers include Robert Danielson Jr., who killed 7 people; John Martini Sr., who killed 6 people; and James Gregory Marlow, also known as “The Folsom Wolf,” who killed 5 people.
Another Arizona serial killer list, which is easily found with a quick search, includes some of the most famous Arizona serial killers. The first in this list is Mark Godeau, also known as “The Baseline Killer,” who was convicted of murdering 9 people, kidnapping 11, and sexually assaulting 15. Another one of the Phoenix, Arizona, serial killers is Cory Morris, also known as “The Crackhead Killer,” who admitted to killing at least 5 sex workers. Finally, Dale Shawn Hausner, also known as “The Serial Shooter,” was convicted for killing 6 people between 2005 and 2006.
Crimes in Arizona
According to Safewise, the rate of violent crime in Arizona in 2021 remains at around 4.6 per 1,000 residents, and the rate of property crimes in Arizona is around 24.4 per 1,000 residents. Although this number seems extremely high, keep in mind that the population of Arizona is over 7.2 million residents. Also, the closer you live to more populated areas, the higher, it seems, the Arizona homicide and overall crime rate will be.
Arizona true crimes are similar to many other states, especially within higher populated areas. True crime stories in Arizona cover pretty much every angle, from The Scottsdale Murder Spree to gang violence shootings and serial killers. Briana Whitney and Serjio Hernandez, two journalists from Arizona, have a podcast titled True Crime Arizona, where they cover both solved and unsolved true crime cases in Arizona.