IN Focus: Mayor facing criticism over city’s crime stats

INDIANAPOLIS - The city of Indianapolis is closer than ever to matching a dubious crime record after a 55-year-old man was gunned down inside his home on Wednesday.

For a few hours that day, it appeared the death of Thomas Raymer marked the 149th murder in Indianapolis this year...until it didn't.

That's because on Thanksgiving eve, a 16-year-old was shot to death on 39th st., but prosecutors deemed the death of Daveion Thompson to be self-defense.

The decision made the case non-criminal and pushed Raymer's murder back down the list to number 148.

"We need to stop pulling out criminal homicides. We need to categorize all the homicides as homicides and that's the number we need to be looking at," said Rev. Charles Harrison.

2017 is all but guaranteed to go down as the deadliest in the city's history, and that has some asking tough questions of Mayor Joe Hogsett, who campaigned on a public safety platform when he ran for Mayor two years ago.

In the video above, IndyStar columnist Tim Swarens shares his thoughts on the situation.

In a column this week, Swarens said the crime stats could pose an issue for Hogsett in the months and years to come.

With just a few weeks left, 2017 has seen 171 homicides and 148 murders.

In 2014, there were 153 total homicides in Indianapolis. 138 were criminal.

In 2015, the numbers jumped to 158 and 144. 2016 sets records with 171 homicides and 149 murders.

"When we pull out the criminal homicides or the murders, that is not really reflecting the level of violence we see in this city," said Harrison.

While it's not uncommon for homicides to be re-classified, Rev. Harrison notes many cities' simply don't use two sets of homicide numbers.

"The perception is that politics and police start fudging the numbers to make the numbers look better," said Harrison.

"What we saw Wednesday was a case decision was made and another murder occurred and there was confusion on the number," said IMPD Major Richard Riddle.

The IMPD says that decisions on how deaths are counted are always done in cooperation with the prosecutor's office and doesn't change how the cases are investigated.

"We don't lose sight of our high end number," said Riddle. "I think at the end of the year everyone is concerned about our overall number of homicides and murders.  We're certainly concerned as well."