Indianapolis recorded a steep rise in homicides

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Indianapolis, like several other cities across the United States, saw an increase in criminal homicides in 2020, a year already racked with death caused by the pandemic.

There were 215 criminal homicides in the city, the most recorded in a single year, according to an analysis of Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department data by The Indianapolis Star. There were also another 30 noncriminal homicides, usually episodes where the authorities considered a killing justified, such as in self-defense.

The city’s previous record was 159 criminal homicide cases in 2018, according to The Associated Press. The police investigated 154 criminal homicides in 2019.

So far in 2021, Indianapolis has had three of the top 12 deadliest shootings in the country, including the one on Thursday at a FedEx warehouse, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit. One shooting in March resulted in four deaths and another shooting in January killed five.

Researchers say this kind of gun violence did not diminish nationally during the pandemic, but did fall from public view. Data from the Gun Violence Archive shows that in 2020 there were more than 600 shootings in which at least four people were shot by one person, compared with 417 in 2019.

In February, Mayor Joe Hogsett of Indianapolis pushed back against criticism, including from the president of the Indianapolis police union, of how elected leaders had handled crime. Mr. Hogsett told local news 13 WTHR that leaders had made progress was confronting violent crimes like robbery and rape.

“Now we need to focus on the gun violence like a laser,” he said.

Mr. Hogsett said he was seeing a change in how people were resolving their disputes.

“We’re seeing a rise in those types of social disputes which used to be resolved by somebody getting popped in the nose or some other nonlethal force,” he said. “We see, in too many instances, conflict resolution being meted out by the use of guns.”

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