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INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis reached 200 homicides sooner than any time in the city’s history. Despite the increase in homicide numbers, Mayor Joe Hogsett said his violence reduction programs are paying dividends. However, he says, we need to be patient.

“I will commit to making sure that all of that money is used and utilized in ways that hopefully will improve our numbers in gun violence, and I would certainly hope by 2022 that we would have different numbers,” said Hogsett.

As the city’s violence problem soars, Hogsett says this new money may not have much immediate impact.

“These organizations continue to do good work, (but) I want to caution people — you can’t turn the ravages of a pandemic around overnight. Frankly, the investments that we are making throughout my first term were starting to pay dividends. We had a reduction in overall homicides for the very first time in ten years in the city of Indianapolis in 2019. Then in March of 2020, the world was hit by a global pandemic,” said Hogsett. 

Five groups with experience in crime reduction programs in areas of the city where violence is exploding will split $140,000. The money is just a drop in the bucket compared to the $166 million included in the Mayor’s budget proposal for next year.

“We have to pass a budget, and that budget is a historic amount of commitment to anti-violence and gun violence-related programs. In two weeks we will have that budget and we will be able to appropriate those dollars accordingly,” said Hogsett.  

So far this year, the city and the Mayor’s office have invested $440,000 of American Rescue Plan money to violence reduction programs.

“We are fighting as hard as we can to turn these numbers around. I would like to be able to say they will be turned around in 90 days, but I think it is going to take over the course of a three-year commitment to make sure we get it right,” said Hogsett.

(Story by Richard Essex)