ST. LOUIS (AP) — This year is off to a deadly start in St. Louis.

KMOV-TV ( ) reports that 16 homicides were reported in the first four weeks of 2013. By comparison, the city had just two homicides in January 2011 and 11 last January.

Police Chief Sam Dotson says the violent month is largely the result of two groups killing each other. He says the city seldom has random shootings where innocent people are targeted.

But Dotson says even one homicide is too many. The problem, he says, is that a segment of society resorts to violence instead of trying to resolve conflicts in a peaceful manner.