(INDIANAPOLIS) – Indianapolis police are taking a deeper dive into data as a crimefighting tool.
IMPD has been analyzing crime statistics for some time to identify and target high-crime hotspots for extra officers. Now the department is using 24-hour data each day to try to spot trends in the crimes taking place or the people committing them.
Chief Bryan Roach says the daily review can help turn up a series of robberies following a pattern, while investigators can track connections with people charged with one crime to try to solve others.
The department is also trying to localize crimefighting approaches. Each of the five IMPD districts is targeting a primary focus area, based on what officers report as the main problem there, from gangs in the northwest to drugs in the southeast. Deputy Chief Chad Knecht acknowledges those problems are issues across the city, but may play out in different ways — an open-air drug market doesn’t get the same approach as a closed network of dealers and buyers. The department hopes to use feedback from patrol officers and the community to shape localized responses. As trends shift, so will the district priorities.
The new approach comes as Indy wrestles with a murder rate on a record-breaking pace as the year approaches the halfway point. Mayor Joe Hogsett says the city completed its transition to an old-style network of police beats several weeks ago, and predicts the combination of locally-centered and data-driven policing will reverse the trend over time.
The city is also launching a reentry program for juvenile offenders, combining behavioral counseling with practical skills like job hunting and financial literacy in hopes of keeping them from returning to crime.
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Chief Bryan Roach (Photo: Eric Berman)