As the numbers rose questions mounted; Was gang violence to blame? Was the police department ignoring a growing gang concern? Are we back in the mid nineties? And above all, why?
All valid questions when it seems like every evening you see on the news 'Shootings here' or a 'Killing there.'
Putting this into perspective, the city like any other has traditional areas seeing more violent crimes than others. East 21st, 13th and Oak, the Centennial Park area and 12th street all come to mind.
Some years have been better than others. 1993 was not one of the better years. 70 murders 4-thousand assaults.
"That was a horrendous time for the city," said Little Rock Police Chief Stuart Thomas "Gang and some of the violence we had in the 1993 was not subtle, it was brutal it was directly in your face."
It was a time when gang members were getting killed, innocent people were getting killed and police officers were getting killed trying to stop it.
"There were times when people would sleep in their old tubs because their was random gunfire" said Thomas.
At Highland Court on 12th street, people lived with that random gunfire night and day, day and night.
"Really truly if you got a call there, it was not something you looked forward to. It was a bad area, someplace you did not want to go" Said patrolman Bruce Jones. "As a member of the zero tolerance task force in the 1990's he got to know Highland court well."
Pastor Derick Easter knew it well too. "I grew up in this neighborhood right down on 12th street it was a tough time."
Now almost twenty years later things have turned around. But with eight murders eight weeks into the new year, some of them gang members, Chief Thomas is getting calls and fielding the tough questions.
Is his city ignoring a gang problem?
"Every time i get that call i look at it in the context of 1993 and what we saw then" said thomas. "In 1991 we saw forty six murders in Little Rock."
In 1992, 57 murders.
In 1993, 70 murders ,4468 assaults, 1136 robberies, 5796 burglaries.
Last year we had 34 murders, 2051 assaults victims, 814 robberies, 3,686 burglaries.
Is some of it gang related?
"It would be naive of anybody to say we do not have gangs and people who have that mentality are here and are dangerous individuals" said Thomas.
"Let me say this, this is not the 90's. In 93 or 94 we might of been in danger standing where we are, we are in no danger today" said Patrolman Jones standing at 12th and Monroe, a hot bed of gang activity in mid 1990's.
It's where Highland Court used to be. Highland Court was once a pillar of violence, long since dismantled by machines, and destroyed by determination.
Derick Easter along with his father could have left, but stood their ground on 12th street in 1990's
"If change was going to take place it was going to to have to start with us and to not be afraid to speak out against crime and to not be afraid to speak out against crime and dysfunction and take this community back."
Chief Thomas said taking it back boiled down to being sick and tired of it all.
"People got tired over a period of time they get tired they know they can provide information and we can try to act on it"
Built in Highland Courts place is Madison Heights, a model Little Rock subdivision, with very little police activity or crime.
"The greatest thing is that the collective mindset of the people has changed this is my area it's a great area to be in and we are going to do all we can to make it better" said Pastor Easter.
Looking at the 12th street corridor you can see it continue to transform into an area on the mend and on the rise.
While police work and city investment get some credit, Chief Thomas says it's those who call it home who help make things happen.
"Neighborhood Associations do have an impact, they can have an influence on how the area looks and how things happen. They are getting more aggressive." says Thomas.
"You can run it out of one area it may go someplace else then you focus efforts and keep chasing it" said Patrolman Jones.
Police however, have to know where it runs to and where it's causing trouble.
"If somebody is breaking the law you have to be able to call in and let us step in and take care of it " said Chief Thomas.
That was one of the biggest problems when it came to fighting gang activity.
But as soon as people started standing up for their rights and homes, the community began pushing unwanted elements out, making room for the revitalization we see today.