The year 2020 was challenging in many ways, but Indianapolis residents experienced a particularly turbulent year as the city’s homicide rate broke all records. City officials recorded at least 232 murders, marking a substantial increase from 2019 and 2018, when officials tallied 154 and 159 homicides, respectively. The figure does not include killings made in self-defense or suicides.
Indianapolis is not alone in seeing such an increase. According to the Council on Criminal Justice, homicides in 2020 skyrocketed across 21 US cities, increasing by 42% during the summer and 34% in the fall over 2019. In a sample of 51 cities, crime analyst Jeff Asher found the murder rate up 36 percent from the previous year.
So, what’s behind the heightened violence?
No one knows for sure, but criminologists and other experts have put forth multiple theories. Some believe that the widespread protests following the George Floyd murder may have impacted the crime rate in various ways, from police departments being spread too thin to greater community distrust generating more violence. Some experts point to the enormous rise in gun purchases in 2020 as a potential explanation. Others say that the lack of usual social outlets and boredom due to the coronavirus may have led more people to wreak havoc.
Craig McCartt, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s (IMPD) deputy chief of criminal investigations, told the Indianapolis Star he doesn’t necessarily believe that the pandemic or economy is responsible for the murder spike. He believes that people are too quick to turn to violence and guns over minor issues.
There’s no easy solution to the problem. Mark Bode, the spokesperson for Indianapolis Mayor, Joe Hogsett, says that the administration is working with the IMPD, community violence prevention groups, residents, and others to reduce and prevent violence. According to Bode, such actions include targeting individuals who drive violent crime and building trust through community-based violence prevention programs.
But many people feel the administration could do more. Rick Snyder, president of the Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police, believes that broken families and a broken “catch and release” system allows the individuals most likely to kill or be killed to simply cycle in and out of custody. “[We] have no direction,” Snyder says.
If you or a loved one have been arrested for alleged participation in a violent crime, call the qualified criminal defense lawyers of Razumich & Associates to learn how to best defend yourself and protect your rights. We are ready to fight for you. Contact us today.