Indianapolis may be on pace to finish the year with fewer than 100 homicides for the first time since the city’s Star began tracking slayings statistically in 1997. It had recorded 81 homicides this year through October. “We’re proud, but we’re not bragging,” said Robert Vane, Mayor Greg Ballard’s deputy chief of staff. “We remain vigilant no matter what the crime rate is.”
Last year, the city had 101 homicides by the end of October. The year-end total for 2008 was 123, one less than in 2007. The number of homicides this year likely will fall well below the recent spike of 151 in 2006 and the record of 162 in 1998. Vane credited changes brought by former Public Safety Director Scott Newman for the city’s improvement. Among the changes: Newman directed beat officers to spend more time finding out what is happening in their neighborhoods, with a goal of preventing crime rather than simply responding to it.