INDIANAPOLIS — For the third year in a row Indianapolis has passed a deadly milestone with more than 200 murders investigated across the city.
On Wednesday night, 21-year-old Jovan James was found shot to death in the backyard of a home on west 29th street.
That killing marked the 202nd criminal homicide of the year.
While that number is down compared to the same time last year, it’s only the third time in history the city has reached that total.
It turns out, the victim in this case was no stranger to violence.
“The person that was killed last night had been shot before two other times and now he’s dead,” said Reverend Charles Harrison with the Ten Point Coalition.
In fact, police reports show James survived being shot in the chest in March 2021 and in the leg in July 2020.
His killing took place in a traditionally high-crime neighborhood less than a half mile from Reverend Harrison’s church.
“The numbers are down but in the areas that are experiencing violence it feels as deadly and violent as it has been,” said Harrison. “For most people out here in the neighborhood, they feel it is just as bad this year as it was last year.”
Despite how it may feel, the numbers show there have been 202 murders and 215 total homicides in Indianapolis this year.
Both are significantly lower compared to 2021 when the city finished with 272 homicides and 250 murders, while still remaining dramatically higher than any year prior to 2020.
“We’re 15 percent down in homicides as of today. I know we’re over 200, but we’re 15 percent down,” said IMPD assistant chief Chris Bailey. “So, what we’re doing is having an impact.”
“The numbers are headed in the right direction. We’ve still got a long way to go, but we’re driving those numbers down,” said mayor Joe Hogsett in November of this year after the city passed 200 total homicides.
The mayor pointed out the city has invested millions of dollars to upgrade crime fighting technology and funded more police officers and community peacemakers. Chief Bailey hopes those efforts reduce violence long term.
“This is 200 plus individuals that aren’t around for the holidays and it’s terrible. It’s just unacceptable, but what I will say is we’re making progress. It may not feel like it, but we are,” said Bailey.
Chief Bailey points that in addition to non-fatal shootings and homicides, every major statistical category except resident burglaries has gone down this year compared to last year.