A surge of killings in Marion County, In., has community and police leaders bracing for more bloodshed this summer, says the Indianapolis Star. In the first four months of 2006, 41 people were slain, a 46 percent increase over last year. The number of domestic violence and child abuse-related deaths has more than doubled. The killings have continued, with eight more in May. Marion County set a record for homicides in 1998, with 162. If this year’s homicide rate continues, the county would tally more than 130.
In Indianapolis, three community meetings this week, including two today, will seek to address the issues underlying much of the violence. Indianapolis Police Chief Michael Spears said, “The only acceptable number for homicides is zero.” Domestic abuse is driving the increase in homicides in areas patrolled by the Marion County Sheriff’s Department, Sheriff Frank Anderson said. Efforts to reach out to abuse victims have been effective in encouraging more people to report domestic violence, Anderson said. The people who report the incidents too often won’t see a case through, he said. “They won’t prosecute, they won’t go to court, then they go right back” to the abuser, Anderson said. “It goes from a smack, to a hit, to a kick, then it escalates up to murder.”