(INDIANAPOLIS) – Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett says he’ll propose new crimefighting resources when he unveils a proposed new city budget on Monday.
Hogsett’s not offering details yet, but says he’ll propose using part of a $420 million pool of federal money to beef up police communications and crime tracking technology. He’s hinting there could also be a proposal to add officers. IMPD is currently below its authorized manpower of 1,743 officers.
Hogsett says the city will continue an effort to stop crime before it happens by focusing on mental health and conflict resolution. He maintains that approach was paying off until the pandemic pushed crime higher in big cities across the U-S. Hogsett says the pandemic amped up mental and economic stress, while disrupting the city’s newest programs to defuse violence through face-to-face intervention.
Indy is on pace for its fourth murder record in five years, after a decline in 2019 for the first time since 2012.
IMPD Assistant Chief Chris Bailey says about a quarter of Indy’s murders have been personal disputes, the kind of arguments which once would have been resolved with a lot of yelling and screaming, or at worst, a fistfight. Now, he says, all too many end with someone pulling a gun.
IMPD says its violence “interrupters” program has defused more than 400 conflicts, nearly half of which started on social media.
Bailey says IMPD is working with federal prosecutors to step up efforts to go after “straw purchasers,” who buy guns and resell them to criminals who can’t buy them legally. So far this year, IMPD has seized more than 500 illegal guns or guns used to commit crimes.
An IMPD report says about three-quarters of murder suspects and victims had had past run-ins with the law, with an average of eight arrests. Fraternal Order of Police president Rick Snyder has pointed a finger at judges he accuses of being too willing to release suspects into in-home detention while they await trial, only for them to commit more crimes. Snyder’s called for a review of bond policies, and Hogsett says he’d “welcome” that. But he cautions neither he nor IMPD has any control over that part of the justice system.