RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Raleigh detectives spent the year investigating the highest number of homicides the city has recorded in nearly a decade.

In 2017, 26 people have been killed so far, which is up compared to recent years. In 2016, there were 23 homicides. In 2015, 17 people were killed.

Taquez Mann was one of the 26 people killed so far this year. In May, the 20-year-old was gunned down in front of his home on Bowman Lane.

“Our life is forever changed,” said Mann’s Aunt Vericka Smith. “When we lose someone that young, it hurts.”

Mann’s family says this was the first Christmas they celebrated without the 20-year-old.

“It was very tough,” said Smith. “We put angels on the Christmas tree when we should have had him here.”

Despite the rise in homicides, Raleigh police say detectives been able to solve most of them.

“We are very fortunate in Raleigh that since 1991, we have had a 95% clearance rate,” said Raleigh Police Spokeswoman Laura Hourigan.

In Mann’s case, police quickly arrested three men and charged them with murder.

“We still got a long ways to go, we still have a trial to get through,” said Smith. “But I’m grateful to law enforcement who caught the three young men who shot my nephew.”

As Mann’s family waits, they’re calling on community leaders, police and churches to come together to come up with a plan to make sure this trend does not continue.

“Four lives are gone. Three people are in jail and my nephew is in heaven,” said Smith. “It’s just senseless.”

For perspective, Raleigh’s homicide rate falls well short of the 86 Charlotte has had so far this year, but is on pace with the number of killings in Durham (22) and Fayetteville (26).

Homicides in Durham and Fayetteville are both down this year compared to last year.

If you have any information about an open homicide case in Raleigh, you’re asked to call Raleigh Crimestoppers at 919-834-HELP.WHAT OTHERS ARE CLICKING ON: