INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Mayor Joe Hogsett is responding to criticism about his ability to lead after 2016 became the deadliest year in Indianapolis history.
In 2015, IMPD Investigations Unit reported 144 murders. The city hit 145 criminal homicides when a man was shot dead at a home near 16th and Gladstone in late December. Just hours before this latest deadly shooting, Police Chief Troy Riggs announced he was stepping down.
In an interview with FOX59, Hogsett asked the public to "put this in context," adding the public safety policies he and Chief Riggs implemented this year will make a difference in time.
“Because these types of statistics only come about over time, you’re not going to be able in just one year’s time suddenly you know and dramatically reverse the trend,” he said.
Hogsett campaigned on making public safety a priority, but local Republicans are dissatisfied with the results and are calling him out. A statement from Michael McQuillen, Chairman of the Marion County Republican Party, reads:
"Indianapolis is better than this. Indianapolis can do better than this. Indianapolis deserves better than this.
"Mayor Joe Hogsett has presided over the deadliest year in our city's history. He ran as a tough-on-crime prosecutor. When he entered office, he declared the city in a 'public safety crisis.' He's had a year to lead, and he has not led. Citizens should demand answers and progress.
"He has no plan for our crumbling infrastructure, no plan for addressing structural budget deficits, and any plans he has had for public safety are not working. In fact, his own police chief resigned just yesterday.
"At the same time, we commend the men and women of the IMPD and all of our first responders for their heroism and public service during this difficult time. They deserve our unwavering support as a community.
"We encourage the Mayor to take a holistic approach, and focus on the root causes of crime."
Hogsett has his own opinions about what led up to the current situation.
“I can remember Mayor Ballard early in his term talking about how pleased he was that the number of homicides was in double digits, right? 98 homicides. And yet at the end of his term, we were up to 144. Which I think goes a long way at showing the people watching this broadcast that we have seen in context an exponential increase," he said. "We have hopefully stemmed that tide this year and in the next few years we’ll see a decrease.”
Of the 145 murders (criminal homicides) this year, only 80 have been cleared with either an arrest, warrant, or exceptionally cleared. That puts IMPD at around a 55% solve rate this year. A police spokesman said detectives are just digging into several murders that happened late in the year.