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DIGGING DEEPER: City touts lower crime this year, but still higher than mayor’s first year in office

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) — On the same day a recent shooting was declared the city’s 14th homicide , Mayor Tom Henry addressed the public claiming crime is down this year.

Flanked by Fort Wayne Police Deputy Chief Jim Feasel, Henry announced that homicides are down 48 percent, non-deadly shootings are down 17 percent, “violent crimes” are down about a half a percent and drug overdoses are down 34 percent, when compared to the same time last year. The mayor noted that property crimes went up by 2 percent and arrests for possession of a handgun without a license are up more than 20 percent.

“You know it’s not always a matter of throwing more people at a problem,” said Henry. “It’s making sure that the technology that we are using, the principles, the protocols, the policies we have in place that they are utilized as effectively as possible.”

The FBI defines “violent crime” as homicides, rapes, robberies and aggravated assaults.

However, when you examine the crime numbers over Henry’s entire time in office, violent crime is trending up.

Henry first took office in 2008. In 7 of his 11 years as mayor the violent crime rate was higher than during his first year – and 2019 is on pace to continue that trend.

READ MORE: Digging Deeper: Violent crime in Fort Wayne on upward trend

In 2008, there were 325 violent crimes per 100,000 residents. So far this year there have been 506 violent crimes – meaning we are on track to have a rate of 380 violent crimes per 100,000 residents. That is about 17 percent more violent crime than when Henry first took office.

Although Henry has held two press conferences this year comparing crime rates from the first and second quarters of 2019 to the same time periods in 2018, violent crime has generally trended up over the last 10 years, despite some year-to-year drops.

For example, 2016 saw the most violent crime since Henry took office and the next year there was drop. In 2018, however, violent crime was back up – the second-highest rate of his administration.


*Data from FBI Uniformed Crime Reporting (UCR) program


Alexis Shear

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