Heroin and guns: A deadly combination in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS -- So far this year, there have been 75 murders in Indianapolis. That's a higher murder rate per-capita than New York City.

The violent crime has accompanied a sudden rise in illegal weapons and heroin.

Troy Riggs is the director of Public Safety for the city. He says, "Anytime you have a type of drug that's being sold and widespread, money becomes an issue. And people will try to sell that drug to make money, and then people will start committing robberies and doing things they otherwise wouldn't do, in search for that drug, in search money to pay for that."

Crime scene from Indianapolis CBS News

We toured the troubled east side of the city with Jack Riley of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

"I don't think there's one investigation where we don't arrest traffickers, where we don't recover firearms. We didn't see that five years ago. You see it now," says Riley.

The ready supplies of drugs and weapons have made a combustible combination. Riley says it keeps him up at night.

In Indianapolis, 31 police officers have been shot at over the past 18 months. Nine of them were hit. But resistance to tax increases makes it harder to hire more.

Over the July Fourth holiday, Police Officer Perry Renn, a 22-year veteran of the department, was killed in a gunfight with a suspect, who police say fired an assault weapon at him.

Riggs said the city was attacked last Saturday. "I did say that because I believe any time a police officer is attacked, the city is attacked."

In Indianapolis, the flags are flying at half staff. On Friday, Officer Renn will be laid to rest.

  • Dean Reynolds

    Dean Reynolds is a CBS News National Correspondent based in Chicago.