Indianapolis Grapples With Upsurge of Deadly Violence

A fatal stabbing early Tuesday boosted the city's homicides to 13 in a week in the midst of an upsurge of violence that has police working longer shifts and saturating high-crime areas.

On Monday, Mayor Bart Peterson called for an 11 percent increase in public safety and criminal justice spending in 2007, comparing the crime wave to a crisis such as a tornado. He said leaders need to fix it first, then figure out funding later.

He asked the City-County Council for an extra $54 million that could come out of the budgets for other city programs.

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"We're going to have to do what it takes to restore our reputation as a safe city," Peterson said. "We must fight this war now, even as we work together on the funding."

Early Tuesday, Eric Taylor, 39, was found dead in an apartment on the city's east side with multiple stab wounds, Marion County sheriff's deputies said. Police said they wanted to talk to 23-year-old Arcadio Rodriguez about the case.

Monday evening, a 17-year-old man died in a shooting on the city's north side about a half-mile from the state fairgrounds. Police patrols in that area already were so heavy that officers were on the scene within just 30 to 45 seconds of the report of shots being fired, said police Chief Michael Spears.

"Our police department is just fed up with the violence. We're just tired of it," Spears said.

With 91 homicides so far this year, Marion County is on track for its bloodiest year since 1998, when 162 people died. The number so far this year compares with 121 for all of 2005. So far this year in Gary, which has been dubbed in the past as the Murder Capital of the U.S. for the number of homicides per capita, has 31 slayings.

On June 1, seven people were killed in a house on the east side of Indianapolis, the city's worst mass killing in 25 years.

The Indianapolis Police and Marion County Sheriff's departments have assigned more officers to the streets and put them on longer shifts.

Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi said Monday he would be adding six deputy prosecutors to the Homicide Unit, bringing the total to 12. Two other deputy prosecutors will be assigned to the Handgun Prosecution Unit, bringing the staffing there to five, Brizzi said.

"We need to allocate our resources to the areas where they are needed most," Brizzi said Monday.

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