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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Indianapolis City-County councilors on Monday unanimously approved the first half of the money from the American Rescue Plan to go toward Mayor Joe Hogsett’s three-year anti-violence plan.

The council voted to put $150 million of federal funding toward curbing crime.

“At the end of the day, we know that it’s not just one thing that’s going to solve the problem of violent crime in our community, but it’s a variety of things,” said Taylor Schaffer, Hogsett’s chief of staff. “Being able to leverage these funds to address all of those issues really has the opportunity to create positive change in Indianapolis.”

Included in the plan is the addition of 100 new IMPD officers, 50 new peacemakers and the purchase of technology upgrades for police.

“It also allows our police department to act more precisely and to really target violent crime as opposed to taking the broadest view possible, really narrowing down on those that are committing violent crimes in our community,” Schaffer said.

Vivian Muhammad, co-owner of The Elephant Gardens near 34th and Sherman on the city’s near northeast side, said she is encouraged to see the city addressing root causes of crime specifically but is hesitant the help will reach the neighborhood level.

“I’m a little, I guess apathetic, because so often we have seen that people announce, ‘Hey, we’ve cut a check for this much money, we have this much money,’ but I never really see it applied in a manner that is really sustainable,” Muhammad said.

As a co-owner of an urban community garden, she is happy to see $6 million going toward hunger relief and also mental health services.

“Hunger and the lack of food will make you crazy.,” Muhammad said. “It will make you desperate, it will cause you to do things that you would not normally do.”

City leaders said this federal funding comes with checks and balances.

“We’ll be reporting back to the City-County Council as well as the federal government about how these dollars are being utilized, how we’re collecting data, and how we’re able to see how they’re making an impact,” Schaffer explained.

Mayor Hogsett released the following statement:

I want to thank the City-County Council for the unanimous passage of the first several key components of a comprehensive fiscal package aimed at making our community safer, our neighborhoods stronger, and our workforce more prepared for good-paying jobs in the modern economy. I look forward to continued collaboration with Council leadership as we move toward next month’s vote on the 2022 proposed budget, and the implementation of our transformative vision in the months beyond. It will take all of us—elected leaders, community partners, and residents across Indianapolis—working together to achieve the full benefits of these far-reaching proposals.”    

Council President Vop Osili had this to say about the passage of the American Rescue Plan funding to address violent crime:

“Tonight, the Council approved the first in a series of steps outlined in Mayor Hogsett’s comprehensive fiscal package to strengthen our city’s progress as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, address public safety, and invest in our neighborhoods. With bipartisan support, the Council approved $150 million of American Rescue Plan funds to put 100 new police officers and 50 additional peace makers on our streets, upgrade law enforcement technology, and quadruple crime prevention grant funding over the next 3 years. The Council also voted to make nearly $100 million in new rental assistance available and dedicated $25 million to expand Indy’s trails and greenways. I would like to thank Mayor Hosgett and his administration for their work in bringing these opportunities to our city and collaborating with the Council in addressing constituent priorities. I also want to thank my fellow Councillors for approving these unprecedented investments in the quality of life for all of Indianapolis.”