The faces of 15 murder victims will soon stare down at Indianapolis residents. The Indianapolis star says that local police are paying $3,000 for six billboards, each bearing the pictures of three people whose slayings have gone unsolved in the past six years. Officers hope to pass out thousands of Crime Stoppers fliers bearing the names, dates, and locations in the killings.
Police hope the blitz will generate tips that ultimately lead to arrests. Most of the killings occurred in an area where giving information to police can get a person shot. “It’s almost like we’re defeated before we begin,” says Lt. Joe Mason of the police homicide section. “Nobody’s going to talk to you.”
Homicide detective Sgt. Michael Crooke, who proposed the media campaign, was frustrated by the Aug. 17 killing of a 40-year-old woman when she confronted two men trying to steal her son’s hubcaps.
Crime Stoppers has put up billboards before, but not about any particular killings. In the late ’90s, the family of a slain Missouri man paid for a billboard. The man was working as the interim manager of an Indianapolis motel when he was beaten to death. The billboard yielded tips to Crime Stoppers that led to his assailant’s arrest.