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Number of homicides on Navajo land tops some metro areas

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  • Number of Navajo homicides tops some metro areas

    McDonald Rominger, who heads the FBI’s office in northern Arizona, stands on the Navajo reservation near Gray Mountain, Ariz., on Monday. New FBI statistics show that the vast reservation saw a sharp increase in the murder rate in 2013 and finished the year with 42 homicides. Felicia Fonseca/The Associated Press

Posted: Monday, April 28, 2014 7:15 pm | Updated: 11:58 pm, Mon Apr 28, 2014.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — New FBI statistics show the vast Navajo Nation saw a sharp increase in the murder rate in 2013 and finished the year with 42 homicides, eclipsing major metropolitan areas with less space and far more people, like Seattle and Boston.

About 180,000 people live on the reservation that spans 27,000 square miles in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. It’s a place where culture and language thrive but where jobs are scarce, alcoholism is among the greatest social ills, and cycles of violence and lack of access to basic necessities can stifle people’s spirits.

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