TOPEKA (KSNT) – Two killings Wednesday put Topeka on track to break a record that should never be broken.

So far in 2023, the Topeka Police Department has investigated 16 murders. Less than halfway into the year, that’s already two away from matching last year’s number of 18 and not far off from the city’s deadliest year on record. That record was set in 2017 with 30 murders.

The first killing this year happened back in January. One-year-old Jackson Tilton died. He was the alleged victim of child abuse.

“Everyone’s grandkids and children deserve to be safe in their community. That’s what we all want, and that’s what we’ll all continue to work for,” Topeka Jump Co-chairman Anton Ahrens said.

Now, not even four months later, that number has jumped to 16. It’s a number Ahrens calls “heartbreaking.”

“And that’s unacceptable for all of us,” Ahrens said. “I don’t think the police department thinks that’s acceptable any more than the citizenry or Topeka Jump does. And we’re heartbroken about that statistic.”

On Wednesday morning’s show, Shawnee County District Attorney told 27 News Anchor Katie Garceran the police department is aware of the situation and is at the forefront of the issue.

“We’re always aware when there’s a shooting and definitely when there’s a homicide,” Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay said. “Law enforcement in this community is very good about making sure we’re plugged in right away. We have an on-call program 24/7 365 that will call us here’s what’s going on.”

While Kagay is confident in Topeka law enforcement, one Topeka grandparent tells us that despite the numbers, he and his family feel safe here in Topeka.

“I think as long as you pay attention to what’s going on around you, and who’s around you and everything and keep an eye on the kids, we feel safe out here,” Topeka resident Frank Magee said.

While Magee feels safe in the community, Kagay says new technology will hopefully will help others feel safer when it comes to domestic violence cases, too.

“This new technology allows for a photograph to go below the outer layer of skin and so you can actually see discoloration and you can see that bruise that’s going to develop,” Kagay said.