INDIANAPOLIS — We report on the ongoing public safety crisis daily as elected leaders, police and grassroots organizations struggle to curb violence in Indy. During the monthly public safety walk Wednesday, Mayor Joe Hogsett and members of the IMPD command staff addressed how they are working to drive crime down now.
Hogsett said the upcoming 2022 budget proposal, set to be unveiled to city-county councilors on August 9, will have a significant focus on public safety.
“We want to do everything we can to keep Indianapolis safe, but as I said, it probably won’t surprise you, and it certainly will not surprise me that this budget will have a heavy public safety component to it,” Hogsett said.
The city is receiving $419 million from the American Rescue Plan which can be used within a three-year period. The city’s already received half and will accept the second half next year.
The city could add these additional $210 million to the overall budget, which could mean millions more dollars to address crime.
“Frankly, the $419 million can be used, not exclusively, it has to be kind of COVID related but it’s not exclusively COVID relief,” Hogsett said.
IMPD Asst. Chief Chris Bailey confirmed IMPD is seeing a change in nonfatal shooting numbers, including both numbers of incidents and victims.
“The nonfatal shooting numbers are not down,” Bailey said. “We still have a significant issue in our city.”
In April, Bailey said data showed nonfatal shootings were up 65% over last year. Now, they’re still up over last year, but they are now up 29% over last year.
“It’s nothing to celebrate,” Bailey said. “My point in telling the story is that the things that we’re doing, we’re hoping is pushing that needle down toward at least equilibrium rather than up.”
Bailey said in early April, IMPD made some changes within teams within the department and formed the violence reduction teams and violence crimes task forces. Along with these units and the Crime Gun Intelligence Center, hundreds of guns have been seized from people who cannot legally possess them.
“I believe that we do save a life or prevent a nonfatal shooting in that moment,” Bailey said.