INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Just before midnight on Friday in Indianapolis, a man and a woman were shot while sitting in a car. The man didn’t survive.
The shooting is the city’s 200th homicide this year.
“We are at pretty high numbers. It is not unique to Indianapolis — I think the nation is seeing an increase in homicides, and we are definitely seeing it here in Indianapolis,” said Major Kerry Buckner of IMPD.
For Indy, 2021 was violent from the very beginning.
On a cold January morning, four adults and an unborn child were murdered inside of their east side home.
In March, a 7-year-old girl along with three of her adult relatives were murdered after an argument.
In April, a mass shooting at a FedEx facility near the airport took the lives of eight people, and the suspect took his own life before police arrived.
In July — the most violent month of the year — 32 people were murdered.
Rev. Charles Harrison of the Ten Point Coalition has been on the frontlines of violence reduction in Indy for more than two decades.
“I am shocked by where we are. I never thought we would be at 200 homicides. When you go back to 2012, we would panic when we got above 100 homicides,” said Harrison.
Harrison says there are a couple of violence prevention issues that the city has neglected, number one being the bottom-up approach to violence prevention that focuses on the unique problems of individual neighborhoods.
Harrison says the city has also neglected the revolving door of the justice system.
“Twenty years ago, (we didn’t have) people that were repeat violent offenders being arrested and then right back out on the street,” said Harrison.
Harrison says the city’s violence escalated in 2012 — that’s the last year Indy had under 100 homicides. And it’s the same year the City-County Council shifted the millions of crime prevention dollars from crime intervention programs to solving the root causes of violence. The shift in strategy has failed, Harrison says.
“If you are going to have a high number of shootings and stabbings, you are going to have a high number of homicides — and we have to bring that down. I mean, today we are at 200 homicides and I think we are at 1089 people that have been shot or stabbed just this year, which includes the homicides numbers, and I think that is stunning.” said Harrison.
He says the violence is a problem to which the entire city needs to respond. If the city continues on this path, Harrison believes Indy will see 300 homicides in a year within the next few years.