ANCHORAGE - As 2012 draws to a close, four Anchorage homicides remain to be closed by police -- including the shooting outside Platinum Jaxx downtown and the shooting at the R and R Garage in midtown.
The numbers aren't at all shocking by comparison to recent years in Anchorage and to the national average rate per capita.
But some of this year's murder cases have been difficult to crack.
Anchorage’s 18 murders in 2012 represent the average for the past four years.
Last year, there also were 18 homicides, with 19 in 2010 and 17 in 2009.
Some of this year's crimes, though, were particularly brazen, notably the abduction and murder of barista Samantha Koenig by now-deceased serial killer Israel Keyes.
Among the unsolved cases: the October shooting death of 27-year-old Said Beshirov outside Platinum Jaxx at bar break.
"Platinum Jaxx, that case is still pending,” said APD Sgt. Slav Markiewicz. “We are still investigating this case. We interviewed, we believe, all the people involved. We are still working on the case."
Another shocking one still to be solved: the shooting in April of 43-year-old Michael Curry at the R and R Garage, where he worked, in what was initially described as a bungled robbery.
"At this time, we can't reveal important facts of the case that are known only to us and key witnesses," Markiewicz said.
Although something like the Samantha Koenig case could never be anticipated, police say Anchorage is a safe city, and there are steps that you can take to limit your risk.
"Between 80 and 90 percent of homicides are usually committed by people that know the victim, or is close to the victim. So by choosing with whom we associate and foreseeing potential problems, we can eliminate that. If you are not doing drugs, pushing drugs, getting involved in fights, getting involved with bad people, the probabilities that something bad will happen to you are very small."
In the meantime, police hope for a happy new year.
"And of course it's December 19,” Markiewicz said. “We still have 12 days left. And so of course we are keeping our fingers crossed and hopefully we won't have any more homicides this year."
Still, the number of homicides in 2012 could go up without another killing. It depends upon whether two suspicious death cases are reclassified as homicides.
A cause of death has yet to be determined for Marie Andrews, who died on October 11, and for Julia Kowunna-Smith, who died November 3.