INDIANAPOLIS (Jan. 19, 2015) – Indianapolis leaders typically love to brag when their city receives a Top Ten ranking in the national press.
A recent report by the The Huffington Post won’t have anyone at the Chamber of Commerce churning out press releases.
The internet news service recently listed America’s Top Ten Murder Capitols for 2014.
Indianapolis ranked number 9.
Eight of the country’s most violent cities, led by Chicago, experienced decreases last year.
Only Houston, +12%, and Indianapolis, +8%, were up from 2013 to 2014.
Indianapolis finished the year with 135 murders, 151 homicides.
“But if you live in Indianapolis and you’re not a drug dealer, you don’t have a past crime, you do not have a past gun crime, you do not have a past felony crime, the chances of you being a victim of a violent crime, whether its a homicide or a shooting, are still pretty low,” said Public Safety Director Troy Riggs.
Recently compiled statistics by the National Institute of Justice show there were 409 victims of non-fatal shootings in Indianapolis last year, up three percent from 2013.
For every gun murder victim there is in Indianapolis, there are four shooting victims who survive.
The study shows that 51% of the victims refuse to cooperate with police, a five percent increase over the year before and a chief reason why the non-fatal shooting rate has climbed.
Approximately 44% of the victims and suspects are between 15-24 years old and nearly one-third are already in trouble and on some sort of release status such as community corrections, probation, parole or pending sentencing.
“Ninety-two percent of all of our homicide suspects have a criminal past,” said Riggs. “Eighty-three percent of our homicide victims have a criminal past.”
Riggs believes that if state lawmakers were to adopt mandatory minimum sentencing for violent felons, the city’s murder rate would decrease by 20%.
Until that time, Riggs and IMPD Chief Rick Hite are concentrating on heavy patrols and enforcement in six hot zones that represent an outsized proportion of the city’s crime problem.
“We saw that we have 47,000 of our residents living in areas that are responsible for 27% of our homicides and 30% of our non-fatal shootings.”
It has been difficult to paint an accurate picture of Indianapolis’ crime rate due to changes last spring in the way the city compiles its statistics.
Riggs told FOX59 News that later this week he will finally receive a report spelling out the overall crime rate from January-September 2014.
Meanwhile, Chief Hite will attend President Obama’s State of the Union Address Tuesday night in Washington as the guest of Congresswoman Susan Brooks.