Friday, December 26, 2008

Indy Murder Rate Tops Last Year's Number

There may be a change in the management of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department this year, but the number of killings in the City did not abate. The City officially surpassed the total number of murders for 2007 with a double homicide on the northside. With five days remaining in the year, there have been 123 homicides compared to 122 in 2007. That's about one killing every three days. Indianapolis experienced a near-record number of homicides in 2006 when the count reached 153. The record number of homicides in a single year occurred in 1998 when it reached 162. In many other years, the number has not reached 100.


Sean Shepard said...

Of course, a (perhaps) better way of evaluating this would be to divide the murder total by population.

Statistically, did the amount of crime, homicide in this case, per capita increase or decrease?

Then, that number and the trending information needs to be compared to other major metropolitan cities to see how we compare and whether we are doing better or worse than other cities in (a) the rate itself and (b) the trend.

So a 2% increase in population, but a 1% increase in total homicides (just to use a random example) would result in a decrease in the actual rate.

This is really the only fair way I can think of to evaluate a cities performance in this area. As an extreme example, Houston had a large spike in crime after receiving an influx of people fleeing the "Katrina zone". To compare year to year would have been unfair when they were dealing with many more people.

And really, if we're evaluating the police, since they are only able to respond after a crime has occurred and can't really 'protect' anyone other than by having a presence, the case solved and apprehension rates are probably the best measures of their effectiveness.

Any insight into how much murder, assault and theft is related to the drug trade for either purpose of (a) protecting a distribution area or (b) for enforcing payment or getting money to purchase the inflated cost of the product (due to the government creating a profitable market)?

Gary R. Welsh said...

As far as population goes, the City has hit a wall. It hasn't been growing the last couple of years.

thundermutt said...

One additional filter: demographics. The "prime demographic" for criminal behavior is young men ages 15-24. Crime is cresting again because the midpoint of the largest generation in US history is now in that age range.

Finally, a year or two ago The Star did an analysis of all the murders that year, and found that a significant number were cases of family violence (sometimes fueled by alcohol and/or drugs). I believe this argues for some level of government-funded intervention services (i.e. in-patient mental hospitals and/or mental health treatment centers); some families just can't manage their own black sheep.

Anonymous said...

It appears this country is falling apart and things are likely to get worse before they get better. At Wash. Sq. mall, a girl cuts someone off, the person opens fire on her vehicle. A drunk driver flees police and kills herself. Two people found dead in Broad Ripple, another killing on Leman's Court. It wasn't a white Christmas, but it was a blood red Christmas.

Bart Lies said...

Actually, I have the count for last year at 125, so there's still 2 slots 'available' (so to speak) remaining for this year before we cross the threshold.

Gary R. Welsh said...

From Bart Lies:

"Well, it's 2008. We start a new homicide count today. The number for 2007 was 122."

POPA said...

It's funny to me that people (not saying posters here necessarily because I don't know their votes) who voted for Greg Ballard because he claimed he could decrease violent crime now want to write off his year of failure on things like demographics or possible population changes. Kudos to AI for raising this issue, consequences be damned. I say this without any intent to impugn the clergy's good intentions, but anybody who thought you could reduce homicides by having ministers walking the streets telling people not to be violent doesn't know much about what causes crime.