Violent crimes in Fargo increase with recent murders

Tanna Schloesser

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If you were to drive past the McDonald’s on Main Ave in downtown Fargo you would notice there’s a small memorial of candles, rosaries, and pictures out on the front sidewalk. This memorial is for Gabriel Perez, yet another victim in a string of violent crimes this year.
Perez, 20, was fatally shot on early Sunday, Sept. 23, at 5:20 a.m. Perez was sitting outside the McDonald’s when the suspect, Miguel Jay Cooley, Sr., pulled up in his car and shot him several times. Cooley then drove away in a dark Chevrolet trailblazer. Perez tried to run after being shot but collapsed after taking a few steps.
Perez’s murder comes just a week after the murder of Kevin Riley, Sr. who was found dead, by gunshot wounds at his apartment on 17th St. S. The suspect was Riley Sr.’s son, 34-year-old Christopher Riley.
There are some similarities between the cases. Both victims were murder by someone that they knew, which is a trend in most homicide cases. Both suspects in the murder cases ran from officers. Riley was on the run for about a week before he was brought into custody. Fargo Police found him in Lindenwood Park on Thursday, Sept. 27. Cooley was found in a home just west of Rochester Minn., on Monday, Sept. 24.
Riley Sr. and Perez’s murders mark the fourth and the fifth murders in Fargo this year. The Fargo Forum states Fargo hasn’t seen such a high number in homicides since 1985, according to FBI and police files.
Fargo North’s SRO Officer Jason Abel, who has been part of about six homicide cases, believes that the violent crime rate and murders will continue to increase. “It’s sad, but when you look at how fast the Fargo, West Fargo and Moorhead area are growing in population it’s likely that the crime rates will continue to increase.”
According to the World Population Review, in 2017 Fargo had a 1.66% population increase. In 2013 Fargo saw a population increase of 3.25%.
This increase in population has led to an increase in crimes. From 2016-2017 there was a 25% increase in gross sexual imposition, a 2% increase in aggravated assault and burglary, and a 12% increase in all other thefts not including shoplifting or vehicle thefts according to Fargo Police Department records. However, there was a 33% decrease in homicides from 2016-2017.
“You can’t necessarily prevent murders because many of the times the victim is getting murdered by someone they know. To try to combat it we have a street crime unit as well as a new thing called intelligence-led policing, which is where police and sheriffs… from the tri-area get together and share information and look at possible suspects who fit the profile for violent crimes,” said Officer Abel.
It’s hard to predict what the future of violent crimes in Fargo will look like. Sadly, statics show that with population increases in areas there is a likely higher rate for crimes. We can only hope that the percentage of violent crimes do not grow.

About the Writer
Tanna Schloesser, Reporter

Tanna is a senior at Fargo North. She is involved in HOSA, History Club, and Journalism. In her free time, she is most likely doing yoga, traveling, or...

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Violent crimes in Fargo increase with recent murders