June 1 is the deadline for Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Rick Hite to roll out his plan to keep the city safe this summer.
But in a spring tune up, police officers have already hit some of Indianapolis’ most troubled neighborhoods, locking up dozens of wanted suspects and felons with guns.
“Before you deploy your resources, you have to know what’s out there,” said Hite, as he re-evaluates IMPD’s manpower so he can fulfill a promise to put 100 more cops on the streets. “We have our own way of getting some information…intelligence…as to what’s happening, what’s changed in the last six months to a year. Real time, information is what we’re looking for and we have some people working towards that goal.”
As well as utilizing narcotics, gangs and violent crime detectives, IMPD is already partnering with the Department of Corrections to identify parolees returning to Indianapolis neighborhoods from prison and whether those felons are primed to fall back into their former way of life.
“What’s happening with those individuals?” Hite is asking. “Do they have a service plan when they come back, re-entry? We’re looking at them in terms of where they’re staying. Are they welcomed back in their community? Have they transgressed to the point where they’re not welcomed back in their home and community? Where will they go back to? Is there unfinished business connected to them? We want to know 30 to 90 days out where they are in that whole process.”
Hite said his officers are also working closer with mental health counselors and social workers because, “If you look at their clients and compared it to our list, you can see the exact same dots in the exact same area where we can identify challenges.”
IMPD has pinpointed hot geo zones, where calls for service combined with a concentration of likely offenders mean officers and neighbors will find the most trouble.
As of last Saturday, IMPD accounted for 46 criminal homicides as compared to 28 this time last year. That’s a 64 percent increase and does not include a double homicide at Hawthorne Place last weekend.
“Our numbers are trending downward except in the homicide area,” said Hite. “Sixty-three percent of the homicides are based on people who knew each other. There is unfinished business with some of those individuals, whether it be illegal or personal. We’re seeing a lot of the personal issues with violent crime.”
Paradoxically, violent crime as a whole is off by 5 percent and overall crime is down by 11 percent.
“We’ve seen downward trends over the let few months so it says we’re in the right places at the right times.”
IMPD officers are also analyzing juvenile suspension and expulsion numbers from area schools as well as incarceration statistics with an eye on summer youth violence.
Part of the June 1 roll out will be plans to provide more convenient ways for the public to report crimes over the phone or through e-mail so that analysts can spot trends in neighborhoods, even if the residents don’t believe a broken window or garage burglary will be solved.