Monday, July 15, 2013

Indianapolis on pace to have 50% increase in homicides

From 2009 to 2011, Indianapolis touted homicide numbers that remained under 100. Now, after last year’s climbed back over 100, the city is suddenly on pace for about 150. Sixteen people were victims of homicide in June, the deadliest month in an especially deadly year, reported the Indianapolis Star.

Not surprisingly, such statistics and the heartbreak, frustration and anger that accompany them have fueled headlines, intense community discussion and calls for decisive action. They also raise difficult questions:

What is causing the increase? What can be done about it? Has the city suddenly become more violent, more dangerous?

Homicides make headlines, but criminologists remind us that they are statistically a very small part of violent crime. A better measurement of violence in a community is the rate of aggravated assaults and shootings. This year, Public Safety Director Troy Riggs noted, there have been just nine more shootings overall than last year — 257-248, according to Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department crime data. Perhaps more telling, Riggs said, aggravated assaults are actually down by 14.7 percent over a year ago, dropping from 914 to 779.

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