INDIANAPOLIS -- Unless the homicide rate takes a drastic, and immediate, drop over the remaining five weeks of the year, 2017 is now poised to set the record as the deadliest year in Indianapolis history.
The numbers already aren’t good. Even if no one else is murdered in the next 40 days, 2017 has already tied 1996 as the third-deadliest year ever. One more murder will push it to 144 – and tied for second place with 2015.
What’s more likely, though, is that the homicide rate will continue somewhere between the year-to-date pace of one murder every 2.28 days and the pace Indianapolis has seen in the second half of the year of a murder every 1.77 days.
At the lower rate, Indianapolis is now on pace to reach 160 murders this year – 11 more than the all-time record. If violence continues at the rate it has since July, however, the city could see as many as 165 murders by the end of the year.
That’s disheartening news for a city that just months ago seemed to have gotten a handle on its violence problem.
In March, Indianapolis went 20 days without a criminal homicide – the longest murder-free streak since 2015.
Then in mid-July, after months tracking at the same pace as 2016, 2017’s murder rate suddenly stopped keeping pace with previous years. By the end of September, 2017 was 10 murders behind the same date in 2016.
October would prove the undoing of that apparent progress. Twelve people were murdered in the first 20 days of the month alone – approximately one murder every 40 hours.
As of this writing, Indianapolis has averaged a murder every single day during the month of November.
Last week, the city saw its 30th female homicide victim – the most in recent memory – after five women were killed in the span of eight days.
If homicides again increase in Indianapolis, it will be the seventh year in a row the city has had more murders than the previous year. That would follow the national trend of increasing homicide numbers in large cities after years of consistent decreases.