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IN Focus: Crime numbers bring political scrutiny for city, mayor

INDIANAPOLIS - It's only late September, but Indianapolis police are already investigating the 100th murder of the year.

Johnny Woods, 34, was shot and killed in downtown Indianapolis this past week, bringing the city to the 100-murder milestone.

One hundred criminal homicides at this point in the year actually marks a slight decrease compared to last year, when the city had 110 murders at this time.

Still, the IMPD chief admits the numbers are disappointing.

"It’s unacceptable. It's unacceptable to us and I hope the community feels the same way," said IMPD chief Bryan Roach.

Chief Roach says so far this year the stats show that beat policing, with officers walking around the city’s high crime areas, has led to a decrease in criminal homicides in those neighborhoods.

"Hopefully that will continue to be the trend because what that tells me is that beat policing is effective," said Roach.

Roach plans to continue working with the mayor increasing community outreach by getting out and meeting people in different neighborhoods, as well as putting more resources into combating the drug trade and armed robberies.

Last year, Indianapolis set a record with 149 criminal homicides. There were 144 murders the year before that, along with 138 in 2014 and 127 in 2013.

However, in the four years prior from 2009 to 2012, the city didn’t reach 100 criminal homicides for the entire year.

Chief Roach wants to get back to those numbers.

"One hundred is too much but that’s an expectation we can have to be below that number. That was my personal goal to be there at the end of the year," said Roach.

Marion Co. Republican chairman Jim Merritt issued a statement on Thursday about the city's crime numbers.

“I am saddened by the news that 100 murders have already taken place in Indianapolis. This statistic is both alarming and disturbing to me,” said Merritt in a written statement.

Merritt also questioned how the new budget proposed by Mayor Hogsett will address the murder problem in Indianapolis.

“What little we know about Mayor Hogsett’s Mystery Budget does not adequately or correctly address the public safety crisis that continues to plague our city. It’s time Mayor Hogsett steps up and faces our public safety crisis head-on,” Merritt said.