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Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett appeared mighty keen to pat himself on the back after figures released Wednesday from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department showed the city’s murder and homicide totals for 2019 were down for the first time in nearly a decade.

Mayor Hogsett released the following celebratory statement shortly thereafter:

“For nearly a decade, our city has ended each year with more homicides than the last. Over the last four years, we have made significant investments in order to slow this rising tide of violence — bolstering efforts led by community-based organizations addressing violence, growing our police force, tackling the root causes of crime, and returning to beat policing. While I am heartened that overall crime is trending down in Indianapolis and last year saw a decrease in the number of homicides, there is still more work to be done. Together with our public safety agencies at the local, state, and federal level, we begin this new year with a continued dedication to making our city a safer place for all.”

Yes, the old feel-good “we’ve made tremendous progress, but there’s still work to be done” press release. How refreshing!

So here’s how the numbers break down:

At the end of 2018, Indy’s murder total stood at 158. 2019’s final total was 152.  Meanwhile, there were a total of 171 homicides in Indianapolis in 2019, compared to 178 in 2018.

So total murders were down by 6 and homicides dropped by 7?  Impressive! By golly, let’s break out the champagne!

Actually, perhaps we should hold off with popping the cork on that $4 bottle of bubbly for now. It turns out that despite all the smiles and “rah-rah” media coverage, there’s a bloody reality hidden in the details of the latest crime data.

“This is a tsunami of violence that’s hitting us.” Rick Snyder, President of the Fraternal Order of Police

Friday afternoon, WIBC’s Hammer and Nigel heard the disturbing but honest truth about Indy’s murder and homicide rates from none other than FOP President Rick Synder. 

According to Snyder, not only are homicides and murders in Indianapolis still well above numbers compared to just 10 years ago, but 2019’s modest decrease was also accompanied by a surge in other violence metrics for the Circle City.

“This is a tsunami of violence that’s hitting us,” said Snyder. “And while it is true that 2019’s homicide numbers were slightly down, November and December were the months that saw the highest number of murders. So what that tells us is that the numbers are surging and that’s going to overlap into 2020.”

Surging is right. According to the latest Indianapolis violent crime statistics, a total of 113 people have been shot, 44 stabbed, and 28 people have been killed in the last 56 days alone. Those are hardly numbers worth celebrating, according to Snyder. 

Further, the metrics over the last two weeks indicate that the rate of violent crime is accelerating.

“In the last 12 days, we’ve had 26 shot, 13 stabbed, and five people killed,” explained Synder. “And of the five who were killed, two were babies and two were women.”

And while the total number of people killed in 2019 was below 2018’s numbers, the total number of shootings actually increased. In other words, last year’s homicide drop might be entirely due to the fact that the perpetrators of the majority of 2019’s shootings were a lousy shot.

Fact: Over 550 people were shot in Indianapolis in 2019 – a record year for shootings.

“It’s reasonable to assume that the drop was partially due to poor shot placement,” said Snyder. “But quite honestly, several victims of those shootings were saved by the trauma kits our officers now carry that [the Fraternal Order of Police] worked so hard to get in their hands.”

He continued: “We had over 550 people shot in 2019. That is a record year for shootings; it shatters the record. And the point we’re making is that this is not a gun violence issue – it is a people violence issue. 

“40{342d4ff9325a28dcb7f2c75b24c2a469a7c28c0aebd22d83bf56550a2655925a} of the violent attacks in the city for 2019 involved edged weapons such as knives. So it shows you that it’s not about what’s in someone’s hands; it’s what’s in their heads and their hearts. And when they are hellbent on committing an act of evil and violence, they’ll use whatever they can get their hands on.”

Sorry to rain on your parade, Mayor Hogsett. But hey, at least you can still tout the success of the Red Line! Oh wait…

Hammer and Nigel’s full interview with FOP President Rick Snyder is below. Take time to listen. It’s extremely enlightening.