23 murders in 31 days pushes Indy toward homicide record, again

INDIANAPOLIS -- Nearly two dozen murders in a one-month span has propelled Indianapolis’ 2017 homicide total back in line with 2016 – which ended as the city’s deadliest year in recorded history.

Between Sept. 20 and Oct. 20, 23 people were murdered in Indianapolis. Another two people died from accidental or self-defense shootings.

On average over those 31 days, someone was murdered every 32 hours.

Prior to this spike in violence, 2017’s homicide rate has, for the most part, tracked lower than 2016’s.

Save for the month of February, and then a three-week period between May and June, Indianapolis has seen fewer homicides this year than 2016.

MAP | Indy's Most Dangerous Neighborhoods 2017

Beginning in July, when a rash of violence would put 2016 on track to become the deadliest year ever, 2017’s homicide numbers stopped keeping pace with the previous year.

The two years reached their further distance from one another on Sept. 25, when 2017 was down 15 criminal homicides year-to-date compared to the previous year.

Things were already about to change, though.

Three apparently unrelated murders on Sept. 20 were followed by four murders on Sept. 30, including the fatal shootings of two Gary women found in a burned car on the west side.

MAP | 2017 Indianapolis Homicides

Between Oct. 11 and 17, IMPD responded to at least one homicide a day. Three of those days had two murders.

In all, six days between Sept. 20 and Oct. 20 saw two or more murders in a single 24-hour period.

By the end of it, although October 2017 had started at 107 criminal homicides – down from 117 in October 2016 – the two years wound up essentially tied. As of this writing, 2017 has seen 119 criminal homicides. On this date in 2016, Indy was at 120 for the year.

With only a little more than two months left in the year, Indianapolis could still see the first homicide decrease in eight years if they continue at the current year-to-date rate, which would have 2017 end at 139 murders for the year.

On the other hand, if murders continue at the rate they have since July – one every 1.98 days, on average – Indianapolis could see as many as 153 murders by the end of the year. That would make 2017 the eighth-straight year to see an increase in homicides, and the third year in a row to break the previous homicide record.

2016 was the first year to break the previous record, set in 1996, with 144 murders. Last year, Indianapolis saw 149 murders.

Even if 2017 ended with exactly the same number of criminal homicides as 2017, it would be the first time in eight years the city wouldn't see a year-over-year homicide increase. But that would likely be a hard milestone to celebrate while at the same time tying for deadliest year in city history.

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