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Murder, He Wrote

Indianapolis is on track for a record breaking year when it comes to murders.

According to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, there have been 97 murders so far this year.*    That’s literally a murder every 2.5 days.  And if things stay at this rate, Indy is looking at 146 murders.

The largest number of murders since the merger of IMPD and the sheriff’s department was 144 in 2015.   And while the number of murders is on the rise there are some trends, old and new, that worry me and should worry you, too.

First,  African-Americans continue to lead the pack when it comes to victims and suspects.  So far this year, blacks who are only 27-percent of the population make up 77-percent of the murder victims as well as the suspects.   And for my detractors, yes, most crime is intra-racial, but there is something fundamentally wrong when a quarter of the population is also three-quarters of the murder victims, and most of it is self-inflicted.

In addition, the average age of the black murder victim was 31 while it was 28 for the suspect, so we are not talking about hothead teenagers pulling the trigger, but as my grandmother would say “grown folks” are killing each other.

Some other disturbing stats include the fact that nearly 30 percent of the murders took place in the last two months.  And if someone was going to be a murder victim the data shows it was most likely to happen indoors, on a Friday at 10 p.m.  And for the icing on the cake, IMPD’s murder clearance rate so far this year is the lowest since 2007.   In all fairness to the men and women of law enforcement, I submit much of that is due to the fact that certain individuals won’t cooperate with law enforcement.

One bit of data I did not have as I was reviewing the stats was the criminal histories of the suspects and victims.  As of July 1, 66 percent of the victims had adult criminal histories while 75 percent of the suspects did.  Those numbers were 80 and 82 percent respectively last year.  With the nature of a number of murders being the result of arguments, I don’t think the number will be that high this year.

Regardless, none of this is good.  I asked Indy Mayor Joe Hogsett last month when I noticed a 20 percent spike in the murder rate if it was time to change course on public safety.  At the time the Mayor told me no, saying it was going to take a while to get Indy on track as a number of the problems concerning crime were systemic and the root causes needed to addressed.  I fundamentally agree with the Mayor that we do need to tackle the root causes of crime, but the way things are going this year we might need to step our efforts and pull up more weeds as well.

*It’s important to remember, that so far this year while there have been 97 murders, there have been 113 homicides.   And while all murders are homicides, not all homicides are murders.  A homicide is an incident where someone is killed.  A murder takes place when someone is killed, but it is an unlawful killing.


  • malercous

    Not at all possible, your facts must be wrong. IN has very liberal gun laws & we all know that more guns=less crime. The NRA says so. Please don’t cloud the issue with facts.

  • INterested

    Abbie, thank you. Russ and Vic have ignored this issue. This “Chief” has not been taken to task like the last “Chief”. Last year, it was murder this and murder that. Currently, 4 homicides in 24 hours. Start asking the tough questions regarding the administration of IMPD.

  • INterested

    When was the last time IMPD put forth crime stat’s regarding homicides and people shot? Very quite. But the higher ups will say, “it could have been worse because the last administration was so bad”. Or, “our police initiatives take time. You can’t fix what the last administration screwed up”. Hate to tell you this, but the current chief was the last public safety director and if the last administration was the problem, you didn’t address or fix it.

  • Blue line

    What about all these sweeps that were done. I thought those sweeps were designed to take the worst of the worst off the streets?

  • go colts

    hit the brakes. need to start asking rev clay how the police should do there jobs. he is running the department

  • Yucky Muck

    The firm of Reeder, Riggs, Hampton, Clay and Hogsett better get a clue. The PR/marketing approach to battling crime with sound bite threats are not working. Substance/fundamental police work.

  • Yuckity Muck

    To Abby,

    Advise number 7 on the 49er’s team that since he has took his first knee on August 26th, 2016, 56 murders have occurred in Chicago alone.