EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - The highest murder numbers this century. Evansville Police have worked nearly double the amount of murder cases this year compared to last.
Coming off a deadly few weeks, this year's murder rate in Evansville is up.
"Any murder you have is concerning," says Chief Billy Bolin. "You never want to see somebody lose their life. So, even if we only had one, that would be one too many. That being said, when you start getting up into the numbers. Right now we're at 14. We've had 13 incidents, 14 total murders. We try to look and see if we have patterns or if there's something going on we can predict or stop. Unfortunately it's just kind of been a hodge podge of everything where there's not just a set group or a set pattern."
So far this year, there have been 14 murders in 11 months in Evansville. Compare that to last year's eight murders, and just four in 2015. City Data shows that the last time Evansville had a murder rate even close to this high was in 2003 with 12 murders.
Police say 10 of the murders this year were from shootings.
"When a person is set on committing an act of murder, there are so many ways which they can pull that off. I don't think we can blame any one thing other than the people. We have too many people out there that are committing crimes and acts of violence," says Sheriff Dave Wedding.
Police say six of those shootings were possibly related to gangs or drugs.
"Drug trade is an illegal business," says Chief Bolin. "There are people who make a lot of money off of this business. People that are making money off of this business are a little bit shadier than your typical business man. They're trying to control their turf. they're trying to make sure they get more share of the market. If we can cut down on the drugs. If we can make more drug arrests, limit that, I think we definitely eliminate the violence that goes along with it."
Chief Bolin says the department is focusing on putting pressure on known gang members and people involved with the gang trade to get that number down. He says compared to other cities the size of Evansville, our numbers are low. Chief Bolin says he still feels his family and yours are safe despite this year's murders nearly doubling last year's.
"This is my community," explained Chief Bolin. "This is where my roots are. You don't want to see us turn into one of these other cities. That being said, 14 is a bad number, but we're not Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Gary, South Bend. We're a lot better than most of the cities our size in the state and most of the cities our size anywhere. We're still a very safe community."
Evansville is the third largest city in Indiana behind Fort Wayne. City Data shows 43 murders in Fort Wayne last year.
Chief Bolin tells us he is confident that murder numbers will go down next year. He urges parents to teach children good behaviors, saying even small juvenile crimes can lead to violence down the road.