IMPD stewardship update shows crime down and plan for success

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Proclaiming 2018 to be the year he expects the campaign against crime to turn a corner in Indianapolis, IMPD Chief Bryan Roach applauded a downturn in overall law breaking and violence last year while unveiling a month-by-month schedule to step up the city’s efforts to bring peace back to many neighborhoods.

“We as a police department will promise you that we will try to get better and better and better,” Roach said during the first IMPD Stewardship Report, an anticipated monthly update on IMPD internal progress, an update on strategy and initiatives and feedback from the community on safety and security.

“I think we have increased the trust a little bit between the community and the police department.”

Mayor Joe Hogsett opened the briefing by proclaiming the entire city is victimized by crime even if only one person is affected and, “crime is not incurable.”

Roach reported that last year overall crime was down by ten percent while violent crime dropped off by six percent, even as the murder total of 155 reached a record level, and this month is on pace to also set another record.

“It keeps all of us awake at night,” said Roach. “I think it keeps our communities awake at night. I truly do think that we are on the right path in order to impact that. There are underlying reasons why people are shooting people.”

Paul Babcock, Hogsett’s Director of Public Health & Safety, said studies show violence can be considered contagious like the flu.

“So if you’re friend has committed a violent crime, then you’re more likely to have committed a violent crime or to be a victim of a violent crime,” said Babcock. “The same thing for your friends two or three degrees outside of that, so, by really addressing the individuals who are really committing the violent crimes or are more likely to commit violent crimes, providing resources and support to them we’re able to stop the spread of violent crime amongst those groups and individuals in that community.”

Key to community involvement in the strategy to combat crime is the establishment of District Community Councils.

“I would say this year is going to be the year of implementation,” said Candace Harris who represents north side neighbors. “I have been in criminal justice for years and this is the most I have ever seen where they’re really trying to stop the crime and gun issues so I really think this year is going to be the year.

Roach said he is designating February as Gun Month for added enforcement and prosecution.

“The community and the police department and the entire criminal justice system has to say that if you’re using a gun in a crime, there’s going to be consequences to it, and not just law enforcement consequences but it’s got to be the community that’s going to stand up and say we care about you why is it you’re choosing that path and here are some alternatives.”

Babcock said the city hopes to hire a Director of Community Violence Reduction by March 1.