Crime Watch 8

Growing volume of homicides impacts how quickly IMPD can solve cases

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The latest numbers from Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department show the homicide rate in the city keeps rising, and it is impacting the rate in which detectives can solve cases.

This year is on track to become a record for homicides in Indianapolis. As of Wednesday, IMPD reported 156 homicides; 129 of those are murders. So far, 39 of those homicides have been cleared or solved.

At this time in 2019, IMPD recorded 106 homicides.

Capt. Roger Spurgeon with the IMPD homicide unit said, “2020 has been a challenging year there is no doubt about that.”

One case waiting to be solved is the murder of 24-year-old Jessica Doty-Whitaker. She was shot and killed along the downtown canal over the Fourth of July weekend. IMPD has released surveillance video and photos that they think are connected to Doty-Whitaker’s case.

“I don’t know if it will give me peace but it will give me some bit of closure,” said Arlena Doty, Doty-Whitaker’s mother.

As the two-month mark of Doty-Whitaker’s murder nears, her family remains hopeful. Doty-Whitaker’s mom said, “I am very hopeful and I pray everyday that we get answers.”

Yet the mother is finding herself in the same frustrating position that police experience when trying to solve many of their cases.

“In two months time, I don’t know if people are afraid, unsure, but nobody wants to come forward with any information,” Doty said.

“With the not knowing, you never know when you could walk by them on a sidewalk, drive past them in a car, and you would never know it was that person,” Doty said.

IMPD’s running solve rate, which includes all homicide cases, is 49%. That is down from 54% at the end of 2019.

The police captain said, “We can’t police our way out of this. We need the community’s help in order to be able to bring justice to these families.”

“The volume of cases being higher than we have experienced, at least in my career, does make it difficult to give each case the time and effort that it deserves in order to bring it to a successful conclusion,” Spurgeon said.

The police captain said, “It is not uncommon for us to solve cases from many years ago.”

Anyone with information on any homicide case can call Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana at 317-262-8477.

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