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149 and counting: Indy sees record murder number in 2016

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A pair of shootings Thursday night left two men dead. The double dose of violence pushed the Indianapolis murder count to another all-time high.

Just four days into 2016 on Windsor Drive, the year’s first murder left 19-year-old Terry Williams dead. The teen was shot and killed inside an east side apartment building.

This week on 29th Street, police found a man shot to death near a bicycle and less than an hour later a driver crashed into a tree on Little John Drive after being shot in the chest.

That violence brings the total number of criminal homicides in 2016 to 149.

“We have faced some challenges this year with the rise in homicides,” said IMPD officer James Gillespie.

As comparison, in 2015 Indianapolis saw 144 murders; 2014 brought 138 murders; there were 127 murders in 2013 and just 96 in 2012.

“We have seen in context an exponential increase,” said Indianapolis mayor Joe Hogsett.

The vast majority of this year’s murders were clustered on the east side. Still, Mayor Hogsett repeated that reducing the numbers won’t happen overnight.

“Ten years ago Indy never got above 100 homicides, but over last four or five years we’ve seen increases in the number each and every year,” said Hogsett.

“Even though we might have leadership changes in the IMPD, the overall mission is going to be the same,” said Gillespie.

With the resignation of police chief Troy Riggs, the IMPD will be searching for a new leader in 2017. Still, regardless of who’s in charge the department will continue to focus on busting drug dealers and assisting those in need of social services, both were major priorities in 2016.

“We’re gonna hope the progress we made in 2016 will continue into 2017 and hopefully we’ll see a decline in those numbers,” said Gillespie

IMPD will also continue doing everything it can next year to build trust between police and the public.

That community involvement is the best way to cut violence and solve crimes long term.