Indy City-County Council president responds to record-breaking homicides

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INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis community is suffering through a record-breaking amount of homicides in 2020.

One hundred eighty-seven people have died in 10 months, a number of lives never lost over a one-year period in the city’s history. We also have weeks left this year.

Hoosiers are crying out for answers to the alarming violence and a plan to move forward. We pressed for an interview with Indianapolis City-County Council President Vop Osili for months, and he finally provided a response about the violence.

His solutions to solve the public safety crisis are not immediate.

“The very fact that we haven’t looked at it for decades, for generations, has led us to the point that we are here today,” Osili said. “And that’s what we are doing. We no longer are looking at the symptoms. It is our job and our objective and our aim in what we are doing to look at the causes and the root causes. So, working together and that is our aim.”

Osili said fully funding IMPD, expanding the department’s mental health team and $1.3 million in crime prevention grants dispersed among the council districts are evidence the council has a plan to turn the crime around.

We asked Osili if the money for grassroots organizations was being used in the best way.

“It’s not just about the funding,” Osili said. “It really is about the collective work together so that we’re not operating as a government solely on our own outside the realm of those who know best, but being conscious and active in engaging with our community members. I don’t think anyone knows how to solve a problem better than the person and the individual who is experiencing that problem. Once again, we have done it the old way where we tell people what they should do and what’s best for them. But that’s not how this council is looking at it.”

When pressed about why additional funding for more grassroots organizations will help solve the issues of alarming homicides, Osili said it is a way to prove the council is looking to community members for answers on how to ease trauma.

“The pain of the loss of those lives, the loss of the potential in those young people and the impact that they could have, that one day they could be sitting in this office and talking with you is devastating,” Osili said. “That’s our focus, how are we working with our community members for them to tell us how best to address those issues, that trauma? Until we own it, until we own the fact that we have allowed this and tolerated this for decades, til we own it and transform our methods, we’re going to continue to experience this. So, my heart just breaks.”

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