INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – As of Tuesday, IMPD said 151 people have been killed in Indianapolis since 2019 began. It is a number almost too overwhelming to comprehend.
What is also troubling is Chicago, with a population of nearly three million people, had one fatal shooting this weekend. In Indianapolis, with a population of less than one million, three people were shot and killed in nine hours.
Law Enforcement and Indy TenPoint leaders said it is time for people to be outraged over the shootings.
“Many people are saying as long as the crime and violence is occurring in those neighborhoods or to those people, or low income and poverty-stricken areas then somehow that’s acceptable, that is not acceptable,” Rick Snyder, Fraternal Order of Police President, said. “It’s not acceptable anywhere in our city. Until we come together and say that, and say that we’re going to stand against this, there won’t be a lot that will change. In fact, it will just get worse.”
Snyder said the city needs change at the state level, from Governor Eric Holcomb and lawmakers.
“We need Governor Holcomb to engage on this,” Snyder said. “We know that he can help us figure this out. If it means that we get some type of exemption for Marion County until we can get our house in order so that it’s not spilling over into surrounding counties like it is right now and give us the opportunity to address the urgency of this matter. Then, we can circle back around to fixing the 1006 law.”
The House Enrolled Act 1006 requires county jails to house low-level felons instead of sending them to state prisons.
“Well, in Marion County, that ties up an average every single day of 350 jail beds in our jail,” Snyder said. “Those are 350 beds that we could be keeping these new arrestees in jail on but the judges are forced to make decisions about who to keep and release because we’re tying up those beds.”
Snyder also said there should be a system that tracks data about the suspect and the victims involved in these cases which law enforcement officers could easily track.
“Let’s develop a database where we collect the criminal histories of the victims and the suspects involved in murders, non-fatal shootings and aggravated assaults,” Snyder said. “We truly believe if we do that, others will find what our officers know: if we would have held people accountable for their prior bad acts, one or both of the folks involved in this latest act of violence wouldn’t be there.”
Snyder also said he believes jail might be the only solution that works for someone who does have a mental issue.
“I would still say if keeping somebody in jail keeps them alive until the system can catch up to get them treated, and get them the help that they need, then that’s what we need to do,” Snyder said.
Wallace Nash is the Butler Tarkington Neighborhood Lead for the Indianapolis TenPoint Coalition. He believes changing criminal behavior must start in the home.
“These families are broken all up and you can’t expect these kids to do right if you’re not teaching them right,” Nash said. “Jail is not going to stop them, they’ll just come out grown men doing the same thing.”
Nash said the police alone cannot make the changes in the neighborhoods. He said it takes supporting single parents and connecting children with mentors.
“These neighborhoods are failing, we’re failing these kids,” Nash said. “So we have to be better examples for our children.”
Nash also tells FOX59 neighborhoods would be better off if they all had community centers nearby.
“Every neighborhood needs a multi-service center, give these kids some jobs and some direction and some purpose, or what do you expect them to do,” Nash said.
Nash said everyone should be concerned about the violence in the city, not just the people living in the neighborhoods.
“If it doesn’t stop, what do you think is going to happen,” Nash said. “It just keeps going further and further.”
Snyder shared a similar warning.
“Criminals don’t respect personal boundaries, they darn sure don’t respect geographical boundaries,” Snyder said. “They’re not being held accountable here, they are going to move to the path of least resistance and if they think they can go to a surrounding community and have an easier time of victimizing people, that’s where they’re going and we’re seeing that.”