INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — With a few weeks left to go in the year, 2017 will go down as one of the most violent on record in Indianapolis.
Right now the city is just two murders short of tying the all-time record of 150 criminal homicides set last year.
Mayor Joe Hogsett took responsibility for 2 years of record or near record levels of violence. For 7 years in a row, Indianapolis has seen in increase in homicides from one year to the next.
“It is heartbreaking and maddening and senseless. It is unacceptable,” said Hogsett.
In response, Hogsett unveiled a new plan to get neighborhoods and communities more involved in fighting crime.
Hogsett says he plans to spend one million dollars a year for 3 years to fund a new community based crime prevention program. That program will be aimed at neighborhoods and will employ peace makers to work the streets.
“IMPD cannot and will not roll back the tide of violence alone,” said Hogsett.
The mayor’s plan will operate separate from the current system in which grant money is awarding to neighborhood crime fighting groups like the 10 Point Coaltion, but the goal is the same.
“You help neighborhoods by giving them the tools to help themselves,” said Hogsett.
The mayor also emphasized a continued return to beat policing, with officers walking specific neighborhoods. That change is made possible by the hiring of more police officers.
“Beat policing is working. In those parts of the city where it has taken hold, homicides are down,” said Hogsett.
While the details on neighborhood based crime fighting are still being worked out, community and faith leaders who watched Hogsett’s announcement are hopeful it can save lives.
“I think the mayor is headed in the right direction. We will not be able to police our way out of this problem,” said David Greene with Concerned Clergy.
“Through unity we will roll back the violence,” finished Hogsett.
The mayor wouldn’t say how the three million dollars would be paid for, but says they are working to find ways to measure the program’s effectiveness with the goal of funding ideas that work and not funding those that don’t.
Marion County Republican Party Chairman Jim Merritt issued the following statement in response to Hogsett’s announcement:
“While we’re pleased to see Mayor Hogsett is finally taking Public Safety more seriously, it’s unfortunate that it took two record breaking years of homicides and an OP-ED in the IndyStar for him to finally propose something about eradicating crime in our city. In 2015 Joe Hogsett ran for the office of Mayor of Indianapolis vowing to fix our crime crisis here and frankly, it’s only gotten worse on his watch. Not only do we need leadership and a vision for the city but we need to feel safe in our homes and in our community. Please know the Marion County Republican Party will continue to work with those in law enforcement and in our communities to help reduce crime.”