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Medford averages about two murders a year

We have lived in Jackson County for almost 40 years. In 1978, murder seemed very rare. Now I see reports of murders or sentencing of murderers rather frequently. Is that just my bad memory? How does the murder rate compare then and now?

— Dolores S., Medford

While Jackson County murder records from 40 years ago aren't easily pieced together, we were able to dig up figures for the city of Medford going back to 1981.

"That's usually a question I receive when someone is calling from Southern California," says Ruth Cox, a crime analyst for the Medford police tactical information unit. "When I tell them we have average about two homicides a year, they're amazed. They have that many every single day down there."

For a 35-year period, from 1981 through 2015, Medford had 74 homicides. There were no killings in 1983, 1990, 1999, 2002, 2004 or 2014. On the other end of the spectrum, a half-dozen murders were committed in 1995, 1996, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Particularly grisly murders can get a lot of attention over a period of weeks after the incident, then again before and after the trial. In recent years, one murderer who drew national attention was Jordan Criado, who was given five full life sentences with no chance of parole for the July 2011 knifing deaths of his wife and four children.

Send questions to “Since You Asked,” Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. To see a collection of columns, go to mailtribune.com/youasked. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.