Victim assistance unit sees effects of Indianapolis' growing crime rate

Neighbors and counselors helped the wife of Thomas Tefft, who was killed in his home Friday morning.
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Indianapolis has a higher violent crime rate than some bigger cities in the United States. The city has seen 31 murders so far this year, higher than the start of previous years.

Counselors with the Indianapolis Metro Police Victim Assistance unit are visiting the scenes of more violent crimes. This unit faces the difficult and delicate task of offering emotional support to families of crime victims.

"It's very emotional," said Lisa Brown, Victim Assistance manager. "You work very closely with the surviving family members."

Within hours of the city's public safety director announcing a new plan to reduce violent crime, officers responded to two more murders.

A man was shot to death on the near north side and another man was killed in a home invasion on the northwest side. That's where we found a victim assistance counselor consoling the widow of 67-year-old Thomas Tefft, who was shot after coming face-to-face with a would-be burglar while having his morning coffee.

These counselors are called to every imaginable crime scene "be that homicide, sexual assault, domestic violence, robbery," said Brown.

Right now Indianapolis' violent crime rate - based on population - is worse than New York City's, according to the FBI. On a scale of one to ten, with ten being the worst, New York got a "six" and the Circle City has a "nine."

"In reality anybody can be a victim of a crime," said Brown.

As police work to make Indianapolis a safer city, victim assistance counselors will being right beside them helping the survivors of violent crimes recover.

In one violent crime study, Indianapolis is also ranked worse than Los Angeles but evenly with washington, DC. The ranking is based on data from the FBI.

Compare crime rates here.

FBI statistics