INDIANAPOLIS — A violent night in Indianapolis brought the city closer to the halfway point of the year. While the city has seen fewer homicides, it remains on pace for the second deadliest year on record.
As of June 30, Indianapolis has experienced 110 homicides. In comparison, at the end of June 2021, Indianapolis had already experienced 122 homicides. Mayor Joe Hogsett sees this as progress.
“To be able to say halfway through the year that we’re ten percent where we were at this time last year,” said Hogsett, “that’s progress and the people of Indianapolis have a lot to look forward to.”
The homicides were spread across the area, with the Far Eastside neighborhood experiencing the most homicides.
While police are encouraged by the way the community has stepped up to help them make arrests in some cases, they need it to continue.
“There’s a lot of work to do, there’s a lot of work being done, but clearly when you have the number of youths that are tragically taken out of our community and a single – really before the year is even over – that’s a concern and we need to do more,” said Deputy Chief Kendale Adams.
Fewer homicides, more incidents
Even though the total number of homicides is down compared to the same time in 2021,the number of homicide incidents is up.
A contributing factor in the difference is the number of victims per incident. In 2021, there were several homicide incidents involving multiple victims.
In the first three months of 2021, Indianapolis experienced three mass killings that claimed a total of 18 lives. This includes the FedEx mass homicide that claimed 8 lives.
Non-fatal shootings decrease
Non-fatal shootings, on the other hand, are trending down in both incidents and victims compared to the same time in 2021. It remains higher than in 2020.
On Wednesday night into Thursday morning, three people were killed and five others injured in a series of shootings. Among the victims that were injured, police say two were in critical condition, two were in a stable condition, and another was awake and breathing.
While they may have survived their gunshot wounds, these people are in need of physical and mental support. Community activists are working to direct non-fatal shooting victims to resources while sharing an important message.
“There’s help. We care. We need for our city to be safe,” said Antonia Bailey with Non-fatal Advocacy Support. “
Meanwhile, the mayor and IMPD recognize that as of July 1, it becomes legal to possess a handgun in Indiana without a permit. They know that could potentially mean more firearms will be carried out in the open and used in deadly incidents in the second half of the year.
”We’re sensitive to that,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett. “It’s, I think, an unfortunate decision made by the Indiana general assembly that has been imposed on us and we will respond as best we can.”
City continues to fight against violence
Throughout the Fourth of July Weekend, Mayor Hogsett pledged that more city resources will be deployed to keep the peace. Officers will be joined by Peacemakers and Violence Interrupters from the Office of Public Health and Safety (OPHS).
The OPHS is still dealing with the death of one of their Peacemakers. Still, they want to step up their efforts in memory of John Barnett.
The city is also working to provide safe alternatives for young people this summer. From basketball leagues to free swimming, leaders are hoping to get the city’s youth to see there are alternatives to going out with their guns.
“These kids aren’t coming out intentionally to kill but they don’t know how to deal with conflict resolution so one embarrassing moment or one disrespectful comment can easily lead to guns being shot,” said Anthoney Hampton, a volunteer at the Brightwood Community Center.
The city is on the verge of releasing the first round of 2022 anti-violence grants to community groups. A total of $15 million has been set aside to fund citywide community anti-violence grants.