INDIANAPOLIS — As part of Mayor Joe Hogsett’s 2022 budget proposal, he hopes to put $166.5 million worth of American Rescue Plan money toward boosting IMPD’s officer numbers and technology, as well as community organizations working to tackle root causes of crime.
But, with 162 people killed so far this year, Mayor Hogsett faces tough questions from residents about what his administration is doing to combat crime. Hogsett said this budget, especially with the infusion of $420 million of ARP money will make a difference.
“Well yes,” Hogsett said when asked whether help for residents is on the way. “It’s going to be help that’s on the way at levels and at a scope and at a scale that the city of Indianapolis has never before seen.”
Hogsett said the extra hundreds of millions of dollars enhanced his budget proposal to address crime.
“We probably wouldn’t be having these conversations,” Hogsett admitted. “We’d be having conversations about what our traditional operating budget in any particular year is able to afford and how we’re going to try to stretch dollars. I’m not saying we won’t be stretching these $420 million as far as we can stretch them, but to have that kind of federal support available to us over a three-year period of time can be a transformative moment.”
According to the National Institute of Criminal Justice Reform’s analysis on Indy’s gun violence problem, Indy’s homicide rate has remained about three times higher than national and statewide averages and has since at least 2014. On the day this analysis was publicly reported, Mayor Hogsett called Indy an “extraordinarily safe city.”
Hogsett did change his tone during Monday’s city-county council meeting when presenting the 2022 budget proposal.
“Perhaps my word usage wasn’t the best that it could have been,” Hogsett admitted during a one-on-one interview. “I do think my remarks last night underscore the seriousness that I bring to this effort, calling it a scourge and a plague, I think that the levels of gun violence in Indianapolis are unacceptably high.”
Since July 1, we’ve reported on at least a dozen shootings downtown, multiple stabbings, and illegal guns seized by IMPD. Thankfully, no one was injured during a shootout in a downtown parking lot at the end of June, but people were still startled.
Hogsett said the portion of the proposal which funds 100 new IMPD officers, more civilian officers to handle non-emergency situations, and 50 additional peacemakers and violence interrupters will keep people safer downtown and in surrounding neighborhoods.
“I’m prepared to do anything and everything I can in the time I have remaining as mayor to eradicate the scourge of gun violence to the extent that we can,” Hogsett said.