IMPD murder numbers shows nearly 100 murders from 2017 list an unknown motive

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Nearly 100 Indianapolis families had a loved one murdered this year with no resolution to the case.

With two weeks left in the year, the numbers will change, but a detailed analysis of murder cases provided by IMPD lists a disturbing number of cases where the motive remains unknown.

The numbers show the murder rate started slowly this year, with only three cases in March compared to 24 in November.

The escalation late in the year is just one reason so many murders remain unsolved.

In early November, a man was gunned down outside his apartment complex across the street from Arlington high school. Robert Aynes, 55, had likely been working on his van in the parking lot when someone killed him.

Six weeks later, the motive remains a mystery.

“It is very difficult not knowing who and why this happened,” said the victim’s brother Steve Aynes.

Robert’s brother Steve is frustrated his brother’s case is one of 93 murders in Indianapolis this year where police list the motive as unknown.

“It just doesn’t make sense to our family, but I’m still holding out hope that this crime and so many others get solved,” said Aynes.

Aside from the 93 cases with an unknown motive in 2017, 22 murders came as the result of arguments, 12 were caused by robberies and 10 were drug-related.

In 2016, IMPD listed the same 4 leading motives for murder starting with drugs at 36 cases, 32 remain unknown, 31 were caused by arguments and 24 were a result of robberies.

In 2015 the unknown dropped significantly to 10 cases, but the other three cases continued to lead the way with 44 drug-related cases, 34 arguments and 24 robberies.

The numbers were very similar numbers in 2014 as well with 44 drug-related cases, 25 robberies and 23 arguments.

“We know what the causes are. It’s either drug-related, interpersonal conflict or it’s going to be a robbery,” said Rev. Charles Harrison. “If people are robbing it means they’re trying to survive, so we have to get at the root causes.”

“We can have a significant increase in law enforcement, but we can’t police morality or decision making as it relates to arguments,” said IMPD Sgt. Chris Wilburn.

Of course while many cases may be listed with unknown motives, the truth is someone always knows what caused the crime. Steve urges those people to step forward.

“To take the streets back and get rid of the crime, people need to speak up and help one another,” said Aynes.

Police also point out that the high number of unknown motives this year is not surprising, because cases that remain open often won’t list a motive to avoid speculation.

In the meantime anyone with information on any unsolved cases is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 317-262-TIPS.

The IMPD numbers also included some other interesting facts:

  • Sunday was the deadliest day of the week this year with 29 criminal homicides.
  • Tuesday proved to be the safest day with 14 killings.
  • 15 murders took place between midnight and 1 a.m.
  • The hour with the least violent crime was 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., with just 1 case.