Crime Watch 8

‘A public safety crisis’: Faith, civic leaders address Indianapolis violence

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis faith and civic leaders say more needs to be done about violence in the city.

Indianapolis is home for Marvin Batts. He’s aware of violent incidents around town.

“It’s a shame. It’s a shame. I’ve lived in this city all my life, and I’ve never seen it like that. Growing up, we had our moments, but not like this, man,” Batts said.

On Friday, the Rev. Charles Harrison and Fraternal Order of Police President Rick Snyder called attention to Indianapolis violence.

“Indianapolis is in a public safety crisis,” Harrison, who is senior pastor of Barnes United Methodist Church, explained. “The violence is out of control.”

“Indy can’t wait. Violence is surging. Within the surge, it’s to levels we’ve never seen before,” Snyder said.

According to Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department data, there were 88 intentional homicides so far in 2021. In 2020, there had been 56 intentional homicides by this point. That’s an increase of 32 homicides, in a year-to-date comparison.

“Man, that’s crazy!” Batts told News 8 after learning about that statistic.

Harrison explained potential reasons for the increase.

“The revolving door, which is catch-and-release,” Harrison said. “Particularly of our most violent repeat felons that are arrested by law enforcement and in a short period of time are back out on the street.”

Harrison said it’ll take all of us working together to address the different facets driving city violence.

Snyder said police are doing everything they can and have adopted a beat model that focuses on community collaboration.

Both Snyder and Harrison call on Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett to have an emergency public safety meeting.

“And get our law enforcement representatives, our Fraternal Order of Police, the Marion County prosecutor, our judges, community and anti-violence leaders and clergy all around a table to address the record-breaking violence in our city. Indy can’t wait,” Snyder said.

Mark Bode, communications director for the mayor’s office, gave this statement to News 8:

For the last five years, Mayor Hogsett has made public safety a top priority, working to build trust between the community and law enforcement and address violent crime in Marion County.

The City continues to work with community stakeholders to improve our violence reduction efforts — in 2021 alone we will invest $4.6 million in neighborhood-based violence interventions, add two new recruit classes of IMPD officers, and significantly expand our community violence intervention team.

It’s clear that ongoing communication will be key — and that’s why Mayor Hogsett is committed to continued dialogue with law enforcement partners, grassroots organizations, and neighborhood groups in order to address this critical issue.

Mark Bode, Communications Director, Office of Mayor Joe Hogsett, city of Indianapolis


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