Community bears emotional, financial burden of homicides

Cost of funerals can fall to taxpayers

INDIANAPOLIS - There have been 117 homicides in Indianapolis in 2013, and no one is immune to the violence or the high price the community must pay when someone dies at the hands of another person.

Police have cracked down, the community has held forums and church groups have marched, but the high number of homicides is putting a financial burden on others.

"They don't realize the financial burden they're putting on their families. Those that are doing the violence don't realize the financial burden they're putting on others when they kill someone. So, no, they don't care," Rev. Charles Harrison from the Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition said.

The cost of the violence is shared by everyone. This year, the Center Township Trustee's Office has paid funeral expenses for 93 families at a cost to taxpayers of $158,000.

Officials said 2013 has had the highest homicide rate in seven years, and for Center Township Trustee Eugene Akers, the end isn't in sight.

"I know of five families that have lost loved ones just this week that will be in here. And all of them are in Center Township," Akers said.

Lavenia & Summers Home for Funerals has hosted services for more than 50 of the city's homicide victims.

Services for those who die suddenly are marked by grief and anger.

"Most of the time police do come to the services. Because they’re expecting some retaliation from the person's family. And we've had situations here, most of the time outside," Natalie Summers Henson with Lavenia & Summers Home for Funerals said.

IMPD Chaplain David Coatie, who has personally attended the funerals of more than 60 of this year's homicide victims, delivers the same message to the survivors.

"The common theme I say to them is the only difference in this funeral that I'm at today and the next one that I'll be at is, which one of you out there will be up here? Because we don't seem to get the message," Coatie said.

The city’s homicide rate, along with the number of non-fatal shootings, has declined in the second half of the year.

Follow Jack Rinehart on Twitter: @jackrinehart6

Print this article Back to Top