INDIANAPOLIS– With homicides 34% above last year’s record pace and non-fatal shootings up 25% and also likely on their way to a new annual high mark, Mayor Joe Hogsett on Thursday announced that, “Indianapolis is an extraordinarily safe city. Most of Indianapolis neighborhoods are extraordinarily safe.”
Hogsett’s claim came during delivery of IMPD’s Annual Stewardship report at Martin University.
“What we’re really talking about is a high percentage of the gun violence in our city is being committed by, compared to 900,000 residents, it’s being committed by an extraordinarily low number of individuals and those are the individuals we have to get off the street,” said the mayor.
IMPD reported overall crime was down during the first six months of 2021 compared to last year.
Several IMPD initiatives launched and continued this year have paid dividends.
From April 5 through July 31, the Enhanced Community Safety Initiative targeting high-risk people and places resulted in more than a thousand arrests and the seizure of 374 guns.
Violence reduction teams and the Violent Crime Task Force succeeded in seizing 348 guns and making 952 arrests.
The Crime Gun Intelligence Center seized 174 guns and made 163 arrests.
While those statistics may be an impressive indicator of IMPD’s hard work, whether or not those suspects remain in jail pending trial or are quickly released back on to the streets to reoffend and victimize their neighbors is an area of dispute and widespread concern throughout Indianapolis’ law enforcement, political and criminal justice systems.
Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 86 President Rick Snyder has called for a review of Marion County’s policy of releasing pre-trial defendants and post-conviction offenders on court-ordered GPS monitoring only to see those people later become involved in additional crimes.
“One of the things that I think that has been a hot topic lately is those individuals that are on community supervised release,” said IMPD Assistant Chief Chris Bailey after reading consultant’s report regarding 2018-19 crime statistics. “12-15% of victims and suspects of both non-fatal shootings and murders were on some sort of community release.”
Hogsett said he would be open to a such a review and also Snyder’s call for statehouse input into finding solutions for Indianapolis’ violence epidemic.
“I welcome a review that would help any aspect of our criminal justice system,” said the mayor. “If the state wants to step up and support our efforts and provide more dollars, I’d welcome that as well.”
In response, the FOP issued the following statement:
“Our Policing Professionals reviewed the Mayor’s summary of his administration’s latest efforts to combat violence in Indianapolis.
Unfortunately, there was still No New Plan clearly laid out. Instead, the focus was on the same tired talking points.
However, the Mayor did note his support for a Review/Analysis of the Overall Outcomes, Court practices and Prosecutorial decisions within our Marion County Criminal Justice System.
Our Indy FOP calls upon the Mayor (as the Chief Executive of our Community) to Immediately Convene such a Review and Analysis.
Furthermore, we are disillusioned that as our City has experienced nearly 700 people shot, 145 stabbed with 161 killed so far this year: the Mayor said “Indianapolis is an extraordinarily safe city.”
To say this on the heels of the outcry of victims, families and business owners…and after our Police Officers even publicly declared Indy a ‘City in Crisis’ is dismaying to say the least.”
Hogsett said his 2022 budget, which will be unveiled Monday night, will draw heavily on the $420 million Indianapolis received from the American Rescue Plan to provide more funding for enhanced IMPD technology and hiring and continued support for community violence reduction programs on which the mayor has spent approximately $20 million the last six years.
“Many of the initiatives in which we’ve engaged in over the last five and a half years have worked,” said Hogsett. “We follow best practices. We implement best practices. We fund best practices. And we have achieved measured success over the course of the years 2016 to 2019 in violence reduction.”
Councilor Paul Annee, Jr., one of only five republicans serving on the City County Council, listened to Hogsett’s defense of his crimefighting track record.
“We have not seen any indication through data that it is working and the citizens of Indianapolis need to know that when they make a large investment, they’re getting a return on that investment. We have not seen that,” said Annee. “July of 2021 was the deadliest month in the history of the city of Indianapolis. This year is going to be the most deadly year in the history of Indianapolis and I think that is due to a lack of leadership.”
Annee said when he is in the council chambers Monday night he wants to hear Hogsett say he would, “not double down on what I consider are the same failed initiatives of the past so we will propose new ideas, invest in new technologies and also put an emphasis on the courts and the prosecutor to get this situation straightened out with them because we can continue to see repeat offenders back out on the streets reoffending. We cannot have that in Indianapolis.
“I think that it’s time with the public safety crisis continuing to surge that we take a look down at the other end of Market Street and ask for some guidance and collaboration with the state legislature to see if we can work with them to get this fixed.”
With record setting shooting and homicide trends that show no sign of declining, Hogsett promised that he sees better days ahead for Indianapolis residents during his next two-and-a-half years as mayor.
“We’re going to see marked improvement in the coming months and over the coming years.”