INDIANAPOLIS – Last year set a grim record for the Circle City: 245 homicides.
That’s 37% higher than the previous all-time record of 179, set in 2017. As a comparison, there were 178 homicides in 2018 and 172 in 2019.
Indianapolis is not alone in the dramatic increase in violent crime. Nationwide, more than 19,000 people were killed by gun violence and firearm-related incidents in 2020, Time reported — the highest number in more than 20 years.
Cities across the country reported record homicides in 2020, including Chicago; Cleveland; Kansas City, Missouri; Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky; Macon, Georgia; Memphis; Milwaukee; and New York City. A number of other large cities came very close to the previous record.
This came in a year, of course, when coronavirus had its own devastating impact on death rates across the world. In late December, the Associated Press said 2020 was on track to be the deadliest year in U.S. history with more than 3 million deaths, most due to COVID-19.
Scroll down for a closer look at Indianapolis homicide statistics for 2020, including victim demographic information, cause of death and how many of the cases remain unsolved. All data was provided by IMPD in its year-end homicide report.
Hover over or click on the various colors in the charts and graphs below for more complete information.
Cause of death: gun violence dominates
Shootings were responsible for about 89 percent of Indianapolis homicides in 2020, or 218 of 245. Police reported 11 fatal stabbings and seven victims killed by blunt force.
Intentionally withheld indicates that police have not released the cause of death to the public, presumably to protect the investigation.
Victim demographics: men vs. women
The majority of homicide victims in Indianapolis were men, at 205 or nearly 84 percent. There were 40 female victims.
Indy homicide victims, by age group
The age group most impacted by homicides was 18-25, accounting for more than 35% of victims. The 26- to 34-year-old age group made up 27%, followed by 35- to 44-year-olds at 18.4%.
About 6% of homicide victims were 17 or younger.
How many murder cases have been solved?
Of the 245 homicides, 22.4% percent, or 55, resulted in an arrest. An arrest warrant has been issued for another six cases, but the suspect is not yet in custody.
That’s according to IMPD data released Monday, January 4.
About 11 percent of cases are listed as “exceptionally cleared.” That can mean a number of things — self defense, the suspect is dead or the killer is in prison on another charge, among others. These are cases detectives consider to be solved.
Nearly 63 percent of cases, or 154, remain unsolved.
Two cases are listed as police action shootings.
Homicide victims in Indianapolis, by race
The majority of homicide victims, 184, were Black. Of those, 160 were men and 24 were women.
There were 43 white victims, 29 of them male and 14 female.
Fifteen homicide victims were Hispanic and three were Asian.
Demographic information about suspects, including gender, age and race, were not provided.