INDIANAPOLIS - IMPD Chief Rick Hite sat down with RTV6 today for an exclusive, wide-ranging interview on an apparent spike in violence in Indianapolis recently.
Indianapolis has seen just fewer than 20 homicides so far in 2014 – a 33 percent increase from the same period in 2013. Over this weekend alone homicide investigators were called to three different fatal shootings in less than 12 hours. A 13-year-old boy was also critically injured this week after being shot in the head.
When asked what he blamed for the uptick in violence, Hite pointed to the drug trade, saying many of the killings are believed to be drug-related retaliations. Hite also said organized gangs have been establishing themselves here after moving from other cities.
"We are looking at this from a holistic standpoint of helping those who want to get out of the game," Hite said. "But there are also those who made the decision that they're going to be hardened criminals. But we're still talking about less than 5 percent of the population engaged in that activity."
Hite said he believes the economy plays a part in many of these crimes. Even though violent crime has decreased over the years compared to other large cities, IMPD says the homicide rate remains problematic. Critics of Mayor Greg Ballard say IMPD's force of 1,500 officers is just too small to deal with the city's size.
"I'm the boss. I'm never going to say that I have enough cops," Hite said. "We can always use more. But we've been able to be fiscally responsible. We haven't had to lay off officers. But, yes, we're looking to hire additional officers."
The full interview with Chief Hite can be seen in the video above.