May 15, 2024 - News

Easy access to guns driving youth violence

Column chart showing the number of reported gun homicides among Indianapolis youth was 20 in 2018, 42 in 2020, 34 in 2022 and 44 in 2023. In 2024, there have been six reported homicides as of April 30.
Data: Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department; Note: Includes people ages 0 to 19; Chart: Axios Visuals

Last year, a teenager was shot and killed in Indianapolis nearly every week.

Why it matters: The city lost a record number of kids to gun violence last year, even while overall homicides were down.

  • The 44 young people shot and killed in 2023 — 10 more than the year before and two more than the previous high reached in 2020 — belies the number of non-fatal shootings among youth, which are three to four times higher, and the impact each incident has on each victim's friends, family, neighbors and classmates.

What's happening: Since 2019, nearly 200 kids between the ages of 0 and 19 have been shot and killed in the city.

  • Axios Indianapolis and Chalkbeat Indiana reviewed court documents for cases where arrests have been made during that time and found a pattern of social media fighting, drug deals and remarkably easy access to guns.

Reality check: One 15-year-old New B.O.Y. participant said it's "easy as one, two, three" to get a gun. He could get one in 20 minutes, he said.

  • The teens say there will be guns at any party they attend.
  • Several boys were at a Halloween party last year where a mass shooting left one 16-year-old girl dead and nine others injured.

What they're saying: "We're just a piece of the puzzle," Hines said. "We understand the plight of these young men, so we try to stand in the gap in every area, but we can't be with them 24 hours a day."

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