JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

It's a grim statistic: During the 31 days of July, 15 homicides were reported in Jacksonville.

July was the first month of the year to break into double-digit for homicides, and the rate doesn't seem to be slowing down. Just four days in to August, three more people have been killed.

From a murder-suicide to a pair of siblings killed over drugs, most of the deaths were gun-related and spread out across the city.

Channel 4's Ashley Harding spoke to our crime expert about the disturbing numbers. 

Matthew and Andrew Bohannon, Amber Bass, Shelby Farah and many more were  killed last month, making July the deadliest this year.

"It's horrendous, it's atrocious. It's something that the city needs to look at more deeply and as a resident of Jacksonville, I'm rather concerned," said one concerned citizen.

Police said the majority of the homicides were by gun and most were men. Only four women of the murders were women.

The killings were spread out all over the city. Police said most of the victims were under 30, and the motives for these killings range from drugs to a rash of robberies.
"So this was a very violent month," said Ken Jefferson, Channel 4's crime expert.

Jefferson said despite the high number, crime tends to go up in the summer because of more activity in the city. He also points to a bad economy playing a factor.

"When the economy is bad and unemployment is up, sometimes that leads to persons becoming desperate. They're not violent criminals, but they become desperate so they'll steal, sometimes they'll rob," said Jefferson.

While many of the killings happened at night, some occurred in broad daylight.

Jefferson said above all, people shouldn't live in fear, but they have to know what's going on, and you can take a stand.

"You have the right to protect yourself, as well as your property, in the event that someone comes and tries to do harm to you or to destroy or steal your property," said Jefferson. "You have the right to defend that."