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Teenager murder rate getting higher in Indianapolis

Teenager murders rate up year to year

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The overall homicide rate in Indianapolis is down from last year, however, two teenagers were murdered this week in Indianapolis, and in the last four years, the teen murder rate has almost doubled.

Shania Miles lost her 13-year-old son to a shooting Wednesday night. Her son was, in her words, an innocent bystander. Shania Miles’ pain and loss and that of 22 other mothers in Indianapolis who’s children have been murdered is top of mind for Marshawn Wolley of the African-American Coalition of Indianapolis (AACI).

“Anytime someone dies, it is heartbreaking, but when you lose the potential of a young life, it just hits harder,” said Wolley.

The AACI has been tracking homicides since 2020, and noticed an increase in the number of teenage victims year after year. Wolley says no community can thrive if the youngest are not protected.

“What we are looking at is is how can we better engage, how can we ensure that every child has a caring adult in their life, but we are also looking at policy,” said Wolley. “There has been conversation about ways that we can tweak the community violence policy to make sure we are addressing the trend with youth violence.”

On Thursday night, 14-year-old Kaleiah Dean was shot to death near the intersection of Emerson and 32nd street. Police found another teenager close by who had been shot, but was alive and taken to the hospital in critical condition. In a 24-hour period, two teenagers were murdered and another is in critical condition. The circumstances on how and why these teenagers were shot is in the hands of police.

“A disproportionate number of the youth that are being murdered are black males, and we have to figure out what is going on with this group and have a laser focus, and really try to see why this is happening and what can be done, and I know there are a lot of folks working on this issue, there are a lot of people that care about this issue, but this can’t continue,” said Wolley.

The solution to youth violence will not happen over night, nor will it come from police, city hall or any one organization. The AACI is asking for all youth-oriented service organization, churches, business owners, and philanthropic organizations involved with teenagers and families to further provide resources, and to continue supporting volunteers, tutors and mentors.