An average of two people are killed every month in South Yorkshire, new figures reveal.
Data from the Office for National Statistics show there were 23 reported killings in the county between April 2013 and March 2014 - up from 17 reported in both 2012/13 and 2011/12.
In 2010/11 there were 25 reported killings, up from 12 in 2009/2010.
There were 16.9 offences committed per one million residents in South Yorkshire over the last financial year, according to the ONS data, with only Bedfordshire with a worse homicide record.
Four police forces investigated more homicides than South Yorkshire Police over the same 12 month period - the Met, with 108 offences; West Midlands, with 35, Greater Manchester, with 30 and West Yorkshire, with 25.
South Yorkshire Police chiefs claim there were 20 killings over the last financial year, with three others reported but committed earlier.
Out of the 20 cases, 17 victims knew their killers. One case remains undetected.
Chief Superintendent Rachel Barber said: “Taking the life of another person is a heinous and inexcusable crime that causes destruction and devastation for the families and friends of the victims.
“Ninety five percent of those responsible for a homicide in South Yorkshire between March 2013 and March 2014 have been identified, an investigation carried out, crucial evidence collated and the case submitted to the courts for the offenders to face the consequences.
“One homicide for the same period is classed as undetected, however the investigation remains open and officers continue to follow up leads and conduct enquiries.
“South Yorkshire Police is committed to achieving justice for victims’ families and ensuring those responsible are held accountable for their actions.”
Last year South Yorkshire Police axed its cold case review unit, which investigated unsolved murders and rapes.
Government funding cuts were blamed for the decision.
The most recent murder in South Yorkshire was committed on December 21 last year.
Jordan Thomas, aged 22, was travelling in a car along Derek Dooley Way, when he was shot at the junction with The Parkway.
Two months earlier Mohammed Khalil, 42, of Greenland Drive, Darnall, Sheffield, was killed in an attack in his flat.
Arrests have been made in both cases.
Last September, Jon-Paul Smith, 42, of St George’s Close, Netherthorpe, Sheffield, was attacked at the junction of West Street and Eldon Street.
His killer has not been caught.