Indianapolis has surpassed 200 homicides in 2023, making it the fourth year in a row, according to WTHR. The numbers were reported as of Nov. 20; however the number of homicides for this year is currently lower than 2022 and 2021, according to FOX59. The total number in 2022 was 272 at the end of the year, and in 2021 was 226 by the end of the year, according to FOX59. University of Indianapolis Chief of Police and Director of Public Safety Brandon Pate said the university is closely monitoring any trends in crime relevant to the UIndy area. UIndy police still keep an eye on the events and trends in downtown Indianapolis, although UIndy is not located downtown, Pate said.
“It’s an area that we monitor just because sometimes you want to be aware of what’s going on in the surrounding areas,” Pate said. “Downtown is definitely different than UIndy. We’re a couple miles south of there, we don’t have the same amount of nightlife and things like that that they have, which increases their crime rates at times. So we’re a more neighborhood-style campus than versus being like a downtown right in the middle of the city style. So it’s a little different, but we’re aware of it because it’s in the city.”
Pate said UIndy Police and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department use the same system to gather reports on crime, including homicides. The UIPD watches over the crime log to see what goes on in the Indianapolis area as well. Most of the police departments within Indianapolis also are on the same system, Pate said.
“We’re on the same systems. So IMPD and UIndy are both part of what’s called public safety communications; so our radios are linked together,” Pate said. “Our CADs are the same, and that’s just called computer-aided dispatch. They’re in the cars, they’re all in the same system, so we see what they’re doing, they see what we’re doing. It increases response times, increases officer safety.”
According to the UIndy Annual Security Report & Fire Safety Report for the 2022-23 year, there was one instance of homicide near campus on Oct. 19, 2021. The incident took place near Cory Bretz Hall where a man was shot in front of his car, as reported by WISH-TV.
“The last one in this area that we’ve taken note of would’ve been Cory Bretz, but I think that it was October 21, I believe,” Pate said. “Of course, we monitor to see if there are others, but I’m not—off the top of my head—I’m not aware of any within our patrol jurisdiction.”
According to Pate, the UIndy Police Department monitors anything that could be a potential threat to campus. Campus recently saw security measures and cameras updated in September, as reported by The Reflector, and according to Pate, the police department is trying to strengthen community education to prevent crimes.
“We’ve taken an intentional approach for engagement and education so that we can get with the community more, because the more the community is built together, the stronger the crime prevention is,” Pate said. “[We are] still doing all the events, trying to get people to come and tell us the areas that they want to see improvement in. But I mean, it’s every day looking for new ideas and new things to do and trying to stay up on trends, for sure.”
Pate said the only trends seen in surrounding neighborhoods that require police intervention are parties, and mostly issues with individuals. This is due to fewer people coming to visit University Heights in comparison to downtown, according to Pate.
“The only trend that you have in our surrounding neighborhoods is you have parties, which can sometimes bring an increased risk of police runs. I won’t say homicide, but an increased risk that you’re going to have police runs or police activity. But the neighborhoods themselves, they don’t do what you would typically see when you’re looking at projections and crime, because most anything’s going to be individual,” Pate said. “There might be theft from a house. There might be theft from a car, break into a car, a transient crime, something like that. But there’s not going to be a hub that people go to and spend Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the thousands, where downtown Indianapolis goes from the people that are working there during the day on Friday.”
According to Pate, the UIndy area is trending to be safer than before. Pate said it is important to note that Indianapolis is a large city, and the reported number of homicides does not mean that Indianapolis is inherently dangerous. According to IndyStar, homicides are up 85% compared to a decade ago, while the population has only increased 9% during the same time. Pate said that it is important for residents to be aware of any type of crime reports.
“Don’t look at it like Indianapolis went up to 200 and some odd homicides,” Pate said. “Everywhere in Indianapolis is inherently dangerous, [but] that’s not always typically the case. A lot of homicides are targeted; The majority of them are targeted. So I’m not prepared to sit and say that Indianapolis isn’t safe. They’ve done articles and studies and things that show that it has crime as most big metropolitan cities do. But it comes down to an awareness thing, though.”