ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — Police in St. Paul are concerned about a spike in violence this year.

The city is now up to nine murders in 2017 after two people were shot and killed in the last week.

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Police identified the victim in Saturday’s homicide along Aurora Street as 36-year-old Tyrese Santell Borney.

Tyrese Santell Borney (credit: Tionna Johnson)

Police identified the victim in Monday’s homicide near St. Albans Street and Fuller Avenue as 25-year-old Rondell Quantrell Dunn.

St. Paul police department spokesperson Steve Linders said investigators do not have reason to be believe the two killings are related.

Police think both crimes were targeted and not random.

“What we have is a small group of people causing big problems,” Linders said. “We tend to see an increase in shots fired during summer months since more people are outside.”

Only half way through April, Linders is concerned about the coming months.

The department reports there have been 45 reported shooting victims and nine homicides since the beginning of the year.

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Reports of shots fired are up 75 percent compared to this time last year, Linder said.

He added the department is stepping up foot and squad patrols around city neighborhoods and increasing community engagement efforts, but they also need the public’s help.

“What is unfortunate about shootings that occur during the day is there are just more people around,” Linders said. “It puts more people at risk.”

With some recent shootings happening in broad daylight, Linders knows people could have seen something or know something important.

“It’s incredibly frustrating because even if police know who is responsible, they still have to prove it and that’s a very methodical process,” Linders said.

Police said there have been arrests in some of the murder cases but some people arrested have been released because of a lack of evidence pending more investigation.

They said often times help from the public can make the difference between a guilty person facing justice or walking free in criminal cases.

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[graphiq id=”5z9qWKAtVBP” title=”Gun Deaths by State” width=”600″ height=”505″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/5z9qWKAtVBP” ]