INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Sept. 28, 2015)-- When seven people were shot, and three of them died, in one night in Indianapolis this past weekend, it was made clear that as valiant as the city’s latest strategy in combating violence is, it's not enough.
The two men who would be Indianapolis’ next mayor told FOX59’s Dan Spehler on INFocus that they both intend to squeeze more savings out of the public safety budget and the city’s $1.1 billion spending plan to fund the fight against crime.
“I would want to be the kind of mayor that focuses on, how do we keep our kids making good decisions, right decisions, and keeping them out of the criminal justice system completely?” said Hogsett. “Those are the type of approaches that I would bring to the mayor’s office in directing the public safety of our city. In other words, investing in our kids, investing in our children in ways that keep them out of the criminal justice system all together.”
Brewer said he would bring the full weight of municipal services to bear on the crime issue.
“Every week, the mayor’s administration, leaders from IMPD and other public safety departments inside the county, as well as community leaders, are going to meet and we are going to talk about the most violent criminals that we know about on our streets,” he said. “We’re going to engage with them and let them know that continued violence in their record is not going to be tolerated, we’re going to show them that there’s opportunities to change their behavior and if not, we’re going to get them back in jail.”
Hogsett, a former U.S. Attorney, also admitted his policing policies would result in more arrests and convictions and to that end he pledged his support of building a new criminal justice center and county jail while Brewer wants to start a task force to combat the city’s heroin outbreak.
While the candidates are talking tough on crime but not explaining how the battle would be paid for, nearly $2 million raised by the County Option Income Tax has been doled out to community groups fighting violence in the neighborhoods and through individualized programs.
The Indianapolis Foundation, an affiliate of the Central Indiana Community Foundation, recently announced a total of $1.86 million has been handed out since mid-summer to dozens of groups offering alternatives to juvenile incarceration, job training for ex-offenders and parenting classes for residents of Public and Section 8 housing as well as other programs.
Hogsett and Brewer both praised a strategy developed by former Public Safety Director Troy Riggs and implemented by IMPD Chief Rick Hite to target six focus areas in the city for added enforcement and police and agency attention.
While the murder rate in Indianapolis is slightly down from a year ago, 75 percent of the city’s killings happened outside the focus areas which could be a result of the criminal element leaving communities heavily patrolled by police.