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INDIANAPOLIS — At a time when Indianapolis teeters on the edge of setting new annual records when it comes to homicide and non-fatal shootings, IMPD says those statistics hide what may be a hopeful trend when it comes to gun violence in the city.

“Since April, we’ve seen a slight reduction, around 16-20%, of non-fatal shootings,” said IMPD Deputy Chief Kendale Adams.

As recently as this past August during IMPD’s annual stewardship address, Mayor Joe Hogsett has cited the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in mid-March of 2020 as a factor in the city’s escalating violence-driven, he said, by a relatively small number of people.

“Compared to 900,000 residents, it’s being committed by an extraordinarily low number of individuals.”

First Quarter statistics for the last two years show that the number of non-fatal shooting victims jumped nearly 57% from 2020 to 2021.

The number of murder victims climbed nearly 44% during that same period.

“This conversation is beyond IMPD homicide,” said Adams. “This is a conversation that needs to continue to happen in our community about those systematic barriers that lead individuals to a life of, ‘I carry a gun and I gotta shoot someone.’”

As of the first of this month, IMPD had recorded 571 non-fatal shooting incidents with 647 victims, compared to 526 incidents and 588 victims during the first ten months of 2020.

Last year’s final non-fatal shooting totals were 714 people wounded during 639 incidents.

As of Sunday night, IMPD had investigated 244 homicides, one short of last year’s record, while a year ago that number stood at 218.

One challenge facing IMPD is assigning enough officers to keep the city safe.

IMPD has 1659 sworn officers, roughly the same number it started the year with as attrition and retirements have negated any gains by Academy recruit classes.

Metro PD has an authorized strength of 1743 officers and Mayor Hogsett has set aside funding to grow the force to 1843 if that many recruits and lateral transfer candidates can be found just as the department faces excessive overtime costs and additional jail wagon responsibilities at the start of next year.