Homicides jump in Indy, Fort Wayne in 2013December 31, 2013
By TOM LoBIANCO
INDIANAPOLIS — A violent weekend in Indianapolis added to a sharp jump in homicides for the city this year and had the new police chief reassuring residents of their safety.
The city’s homicides hit 141 after detectives responded to reports of a person down Monday morning.
Police are investigating three homicides that occurred during the past weekend. Indianapolis police reported Sunday that the number of homicides for the year reached 140, including 16 that were determined to be justifiable.
It’s the highest number the city has seen since 2006. Police Chief Rick Hite responded with assurances that residents who follow the law are unlikely to become victims.
“Any intentional death by violent means is unacceptable and will not be tolerated in our city. However, a majority of these incidents involved both victims and suspects who were engaged in unlawful behavior which precipitated a murder,” Hite said in a statement released Sunday night.
The increase was punctuated by the discovery of three homicide victims just hours apart on Saturday night. Indianapolis media outlets reported that three men were discovered killed in seemingly unrelated cases throughout the city.
The Rev. Charles Harrison, head of the Indianapolis-based 10 Point Coalition, told WISH-TV that more police need to be working the street like volunteers with his faith-based group.
“Nobody’s out there but us when there’s a homicide,” Harrison told the station. “At these funerals, at a shooting, nobody’s there but us. Where is everybody else?”
Indianapolis’ sharp spike this year accompanies a similar increase in Fort Wayne, the state’s third-largest city.
Fort Wayne media outlets reported the city recorded its 44th homicide earlier in December, but police were able to confirm only 35 homicides for the year through the end of November.
Even with 35 confirmed homicides, the city is on pace to break its previous high of 36 homicides in 1997. Fort Wayne police reported Monday that homicides in the city had fluctuated between 18 and 23 per year over the last four years.
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