Householders in Jutland Street, not far from the city centre, revealed they have been plagued by anti-social behaviour for years, with many fearing for their safety.
"I'm shocked to hear there has been a murder in the street outside," said one who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals.
"But on the other hand it won't surprise anyone round here that someone has been attacked.
"It's a bad area these days. But it's not the people who live here, it's the people who hang around these streets who are causing it."
Police were called to Jutland Street, off Meadow Street, at around 3am after a man was found with serious stab wounds to the chest.
The victim, named as 42-year-old Lee Dawson, was rushed to the Royal Preston Hospital but died later despite attempts to save his life.
Mr Dawson was originally from Preston, but had been living in Sunderland. So far no arrests have been made.
His family paid this tribute: “Lee loved his children deeply and would do anything for them. He had a strong heart and stronger head. He was a big friendly giant.
"Once you had Lee as a friend you had a friend for life. He lived life to the full and will be greatly missed by all of his family and friends.”
Officers issued a plea to members of the public to come forward if they have any information, or CCTV, door bell camera or dashcam footage from the area which could help identify those responsible.
One householder told the Post: "It sounded like three separate incidents to me from about one o’clock onwards, but it could all have been the same argument.
"I first heard shouting and screaming about one o'clock. Then it died down. Then it started again about two o'clock and carried on for a while.
"The woman who lives next door said it sounded close by and so she went out to tell them to belt up and she found two men having a right barney in her front garden. She told them to get away.
"Then it all erupted again later, so I can't be sure if they were the same people involved in all three rows, or nothing to do with this at all.
"At one point it sounded like someone was screaming like an animal. It sounded really nasty and horrible.
"I've lived here 30 years and every so often something happens. I'm not saying people getting murdered, but nasty goings-on."
Many other residents said the first they knew an incident had taken place was when they woke up to see a large police presence in and around Jutland Street.
"I didn't hear a thing," said one. "But I heard a rumour this morning that quite a lot of people had witnessed it."
DCI Mark Haworth-Oates said: “Our investigation is at its very early stages and we have a team of detectives working to identify and arrest those responsible.
“We would like to reassure the public that patrols have been increased in the area."
Information call 101, quoting log number 0149 of June 17.