Homicide rate in Indianapolis higher than in Chicago


INDIANAPOLIS – At 10.6 homicides per 100,000 population, Indianapolis has a higher intentional murder rate than Chicago and several other major regional cities in the United States.

Compared to the homicide rates of seven other cities as of May 19, Indianapolis was firmly in the middle of the pack.

“The statistics you cite for Indianapolis are right in the middle of the cluster of cities we looked at for the 2019-20 increase,” said Rick Rosenfeld, professor of criminology at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, “and the increase in the first quarter of 2020 to the increase in the first quarter of the current year, [what it] This means Indianapolis has seen a dramatic increase in homicides for almost two years.

On Monday afternoon, Indianapolis recorded its 102nd homicide for the year.

In the record year of 2020 for homicides, Indianapolis did not hit the triple-digit mark until mid-June and did not reach that level until the end of August in 2019.

Currently, Indianapolis’ homicide rate is about 30% higher than a year ago and is statistically on track to approaching 300 homicides by 2021.

“Our city has truly passed the tipping point of increasing violence in our community,” Fraternal Order of Police No. 86 President Rick Snyder said. “Not only are we seeing unprecedented levels of violence in our city, but when you do this benchmarking, especially with other cities like our neighbors to the north, you really get a sense of the context in which the numbers are over. meaning. . “

As of May 19, here is the number of homicides per 100,000 inhabitants in eight large regional cities:

  • ST. LOUIS – 24.5
  • MEMPHIS – 15.9
  • CLEVELAND – 14.6
  • LOUISVILLE – 10.73
  • CHICAGO – 8
  • COLOMBUS – 8
  • NASHVILLE – 7.3

Indianapolis’ total for 2021 includes 18 deaths linked to three mass murders, and since last week when that data was compiled, police have been investigating two double homicides.

“Homicide is clearly the most important measure of public safety, but no one wants their house to be broken into, no one wants their car to be stolen, and these are much bigger crimes, and they have gone down at the same time. time that the homicide rate has been increasing, ”Rosenfeld said. “The very large and dramatic increases in homicides and assaults with firearms, however, are more difficult to explain.”

While Indianapolis has shown a steadily declining trend in reported criminal crimes, the number of homicides and non-fatal shootings has increased for more than two years.

“We have a broken criminal justice system that does not hold known offenders accountable at the time, and then we see them repeat these cycles of violence,” Snyder said. “We are seeing repeat offenders convicted of violent crimes being kicked back to neighborhoods by bike.”

Earlier this year, Marion County District Attorney Ryan Mears told FOX59 that many murder suspects are first-time offenders or have low criminal records that would not necessarily indicate potential for extreme violence.

“If you look at some of the other people involved in criminal homicides or the criminal justice system who are currently charged with criminal homicides, we don’t see the terrible, 10-page long criminal history of the people we are now. charged with murder, “Mears said,” and for whatever reason, for the first and second offenses, we’re seeing some pretty significant crimes. “

Rosenfeld said the impact of last year’s nationwide protests for police reform could be a potential factor in the rising homicide rate.

“When we’re trying to figure out what’s behind this surge in violence,” he said, “I don’t think we should ignore what’s going on in the relationship between the police and at least some of the communities in which it serves. our cities.

“It’s not just what is happening with the police. This is happening within communities during a time of very intense and widespread protests against police violence, ”Rosenfeld continued. “The argument here is that those communities that have always had a somewhat strained relationship with the local police department, in those communities the relationship has also deteriorated even more to the point that people are even less likely to contact the police. police with information on crime, less likely to cooperate with police in investigations, more likely to take matters into their own hands and solve problems, which has contributed to the increase in violence. “

Snyder called on Mayor Joe Hogsett to convene a summit of community, criminal justice and law enforcement leaders to determine where gaps in the system may fail to identify or hold potentially violent offenders accountable.

“He’s a former federal prosecutor. He knows them as well as anyone else, and points to the people who play a role in it and says, “ I can’t tell the judges what to do, I can’t tell the prosecutor what to do, but what I can tell you my city-county comptroller is in control of your budget and funding, and I highly recommend you fix this, ”Snyder said, paraphrasing Hogsett’s potential address to criminal justice partners, and that’s the big dilemma that we Nobody wants to come to the table and say there’s a problem here because I think invariably judges, prosecutors, public defenders, people who play a role in this process, they fear to be seen as a cause this. “

According to an internal email obtained by FOX59, last week, the IMPD informed law enforcement officials across Marion County that its electronic document management system, which provides access to officers data during investigations, is faulty and, after more than two years of service, the contractor outside the city will soon begin to modernize the system.

“Let’s get a database that will actually track the criminal history of victims. We will know the victim each time, but also the suspects when they are known, “said Snyder,” and we are confident that residents will quickly see what our officers know that one or both of these parties could not. not have. been there to make this latest act of violence happen if one or both could have been held responsible for wrongdoing.

Traditionally, the IMPD has reported that over 70% of its victims and perpetrators have criminal records.

“The idea that some sort of summit will be the answer is inadequate,” Mayor Hogsett told FOX59 last week. “Whether it’s in the data, whether it’s force and patrols, whether it’s frankly creating new programs to reach newer, more community-based groups, we’re constantly analyzing police tactics, and we will continue to do so.

Hogsett said his office has overseen the provision and administration of more than $ 10 million in dedicated anti-violent crime funding and programs over the past five years.

“We are literally doing everything we can, adopting best practices from other communities where some success has taken place, and we will continue and we are committed to continuing to do so,” the mayor said. “With the investments we make in law enforcement, with the millions of dollars each year that the county city council allocates to raising awareness in neighborhoods against violence, to peacemakers in our violence reduction programs. violence, we will make a difference. . We can turn the tide. “

Earlier this year, one of those street ambassadors was gunned down while delivering anti-violence flyers to a struggling apartment complex on the east side, and a high-level trainer of so-called violence interrupters recently been separated from the program due to social media posts. administrators found it threatening.

“We have not been static in our approach. We have changed where changes are needed, and I believe changes are being considered at the federal level. I would encourage changes to be considered at the state level. Common sense is changing that an overwhelming majority of the population of this country supports in terms of more background checks, in terms of buying guns, ”said Hogsett, lamenting the inability of local entities to adopt. gun control measures. “The Indiana General Assembly prohibits local government units from doing anything with respect to the senseless threat of violence that is more stringent than state law provides.”

Hogsett’s summer violence reduction plan, already two weeks after its initial launch date, will be unveiled in early June.

“We continue to put the finishing touches on this,” said the mayor. “We have delayed this announcement for several weeks because we continue to speak to even more community groups, community advocates, who want the opportunity to be heard, who have ideas they want us to consider. consideration and so in a few weeks I think we’ll be announcing our full summer strategy. “

IMPD chief Randal Taylor told FOX59 that the new summer plan would change the approach and schedules of teams of officers assigned to watch and patrol communities with the statistically greatest propensity to violence.

At a memorial and balloon release Sunday for her murdered brother Malik Parks – homicide victim No.88 for 2021 – Anastasia Hatfield was asked what she would tell the mayor to include in her summer violence reduction announcement.

“He has to get the guns off the streets first,” she said. “In addition, he must put, if not more police, more patrols.”

Hogsett said the IMPD is expanding its community and beating police strategy, gained support from the Statehouse to adopt its Crime Gun Intelligence Center model to track violent criminals and investigate gun crimes in communities surrounding central Indiana and was slowly increasing the size of the police force despite the increase. retirement and separation rates and calls from community activists to defund the department.

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