According to the Violence Policy Center (VPC), a nonpartisan think-tank that tracks violent crime in the United States, Indiana registered the second-highest rate of black homicide victims in 2014 in the country. The problem appears to be worsening. Indiana holds the Number 2 slot in the nation, having almost 30 victims per 100,000 people, exceeding the national average of about 16 black victims per 100,000 people, according to an annual study from the Violence Policy Center, an organization that studies gun violence and advocates for gun control legislation
 
Missouri was Numero Uno at 35 victims per 100,000. 
 
Indiana once held the top spot in 2013 when it hit 213 black homicide victims with a rate of 34 victims.
 
The problem has gotten worse in Indianapolis, which contributes more than anywhere else to Indiana’s deadly toll, since 2014, according to a review of an IndyStar review of Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department data. In 2014, there were 95 black criminal homicide victims, making up 68 percent of the total. In 2015, Indianapolis had 105 black victims, or 73 percent of the total killings in Indianapolis. And last year, 115 black victims made up 77 percent.
 
Violence featuring firearms has spiked in Indianapolis. The city had record-breaking numbers in both 2015 and 2016, 144 and 149, respectively. Criminal homicides do not include shootings by police or those that are considered accidental or in self-defense. Criminal homicides increased by over 10 percent across the nation, according to the FBI, from 2014 to 2015.
 
According to the study, the homicide rate for white Americans was about 2.5 victims per 100,000 people in 2014, compared to about 16 per 100,000 for black Americans. Over the 11 years that the Violence Policy Center has published its studies, Indiana has ranked in the top ten states nationally for black homicide. Eighty-five percent of the black homicide victims were killed by firearms. 
 
According to VPC, while black Americans represent only 13 percent of the national population, they represent 50 percent of homicide victims. Nationall, the VPC found that 83 percent of black homicide victims are felled by firearms.


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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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