INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis has recorded at least 160 criminal homicides in 2020, surpassing its highest ever tally for a whole year, according to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
From Friday night to Sunday night in the city, seven people were slain in four separate shootings, one was stabbed to death and one died in an apparent inmate-on-inmate assault inside the Marion County Jail, the Indianapolis Star reported.
IMPD investigated 154 criminal homicide cases in all of 2019 and 159 a year earlier – the city's previous record high.
Craig McCartt, IMPD's deputy chief of criminal investigations, says frustration that residents express over the killings is shared by the police.
“I wish I knew what was causing it because if I did, we could certainly find solutions and put some of those things to work,” he said. “It's interesting because it's not unique to Indianapolis. If you look at other large cities across the country, homicide rates are up in some places by 100%. Unfortunately, being up by 50 to 75% isn't at all unusual around the country right now.”
At least 14,456 people nationwide have been fatally shot in 2020, excluding those who died by suicide, compared with 15,208 in all of 2019, according to the Gun Violence Archive. Data recorded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates 2020 is on track to be the deadliest year for gun-related homicides since 1999.
McCartt said he doesn't necessarily believe that the economy, lack of jobs and the pandemic have caused the spike in homicides. He said people are just too quick to grab a gun and turn to violence.
In many cases, the city's youngest residents are the most vulnerable. Of the 153 criminal homicides recorded before the weekend, 36 victims were under the age of 21, according to an IndyStar analysis of IMPD homicide data.
Rick Snyder, president of the Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police, argues that Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and his administration have done little to support reform of a criminal justice system that allows the individuals most likely to kill or be killed to cycle in and out of custody.
“We have no vision from our political leadership and our elected leaders. They're not even acknowledging that it's happening,” he said.