Crime and public safety are important social and political issues faced by cities and communities across the country. Contrary to public perception, over the past two decades crime rates across the
United States have decreased dramatically (Wolfers, 2014; McCarthy, 2015; Lopez, 2015). In 1994 the national Part I crime rate (the combination of property and violent crime) was 53 crimes per 1,000 people. In 2013, the rate was 31 crimes per 1,000 people, a decline of 41.5 percent. Yet, the story has not been the same across
the country. When examining trends in crime at different geographic areas, such as counties, cities, or neighborhood the story becomes more complicated.
Studying crime trends in the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) jurisdiction reveals a more nuanced story. Overall, the crime rate is at the lowest level since 2007. Property crime and simple assaults, in particular, dropped significantly. Over the same period, however, violent crime has increased, especially
since 2011. Yet the possibility of becoming victim of crime is not the same for everyone. Examining the geographic distribution of crime shows wide variation from place to place. Part I crime rates range from a low of 2.6 per 1,000 residents in the Cumberland neighborhood on the eastern edge of the city to a high (excluding Lafayette Square) of
202 in Downtown Indianapolis.