A young man was found shot to death in Indianapolis yesterday, the last day of an especially violent month during which police investigated 18 homicides, reports the Indianapolis Star. That is the most homicides for July in the past five years and pushes the yearly homicide total in Marion County to 71, up one from this time last year. “Indy’s just getting nuts, man,” said Byron Alston of Save the Youth, a neighborhood social services program. “We can’t blame the police no more. It’s up to us.” Alston he is calling on area pastors to spend more time in crime-ridden neighborhoods. He is urging local clergy to hold a summit and plan a strategy to counter the violence.
As in previous years, the majority of victims, so far in 2008, are black, younger than 30 and died by gunfire. Police Deputy Chief William Benjamin said officers are continuing techniques that have been successful in stemming the violence in the past, including warrant sweeps and overtime patrols in high-crime neighborhoods. “In some neighborhoods, people are not getting the message that violence is not the answer,” Benjamin said. St. Louis, Chicago and Kansas City, also have experienced increases in homicides this year. Kenna Quinet, an Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis professor, said the police can do very little to prevent homicides. “It makes me angry when people try to hold police accountable for homicides, ” Quinet said. “This is a family problem.”