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Source: Jennifer Aldridge / iONEDigital

INDIANAPOLIS — The City of Indianapolis is on track to shatter its overall homicide record set in 2018.

IMPD Assistant Chief Chris Bailey says the upward trend started at the end of 2019 and it’s continued into the new year.

“We started to see this increase in November and December of last year and it carried into January and February,” Bailey said. “In March and April, it leveled out to where we were at the year before and in May we saw those numbers skyrocket.”

IMPD has worked 80 homicides between January 1 and May 26, 2020, compared to 53 in the same period for 2019. That’s more than a 50% increase in just the first five months of the year.

Indianapolis saw a four-year streak of rising homicides, first breaking the 1996 record in 2015 when 144 people were murdered. That record was broken again in 2016, 2017 and for a fourth time in 2018 when the city saw 158 criminal homicides.

Last year, those numbers finally appeared to be making a turn in the right direction.

Overall Crime Is Actually Down

While the homicide numbers continue to go up, crime rates in Indianapolis have actually gone down.

“Overall crime in our city is down, and it doesn’t feel that way because we see this violence,” Bailey said. “I know that our robberies are way down and our property crime is way down.”

So what’s changed? That’s still unclear.

As summer begins each year, IMPD always tells us to anticipate an increase in general crime. But with COVID-19 and the lock-down orders across the state, police are still analyzing what impact they’ve had and will continue to have on the overall crime rate.

“We always see an increase in crime as the weather starts to warm up – but as far as whether we can directly relate these things to COVID itself, that’s something that will have to be studied,” Bailey said.

According to preliminary numbers provided by IMPD, crime in Indianapolis is down almost 11% so far this year.

Even the number of non-fatal shootings appears to be down. Bailey said the last numbers they received from their independent researchers showed they had 25 fewer non-fatal shooting victims right now, than this time last year. The fatal shooting victim count is up 27.

He says its the first time the city’s non-fatal shooting numbers have not been up at the same time as the homicide numbers.

“The one piece that we can’t get our head wrapped around is this murder thing,” Bailey said. “A lot of times the difference between a non-fatal shooting and a murder is bullet placement and access to medical care.”

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