INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Violent crime in Indianapolis is up, and Mayor Joe Hogsett is throwing money at the problem.
On Tuesday morning, the mayor handed out $300,000 in violence reduction grants.
In 2020, the mayor has spent $4 million on crime and prevention programs as homicides in the city are approaching a record.
Community Action of Greater Indianapolis, RecycleForce, VOICES, and Edna Martin Christian Center each received a $75,000 check. Since taking office in 2016, the mayor has handed out a lot of these checks to several different groups across the city.
The groups do not get the all the money upfront. A midyear review assures they are hitting benchmarks outlined in their applications. If a group fails to meet benchmarks, the balance of their grant is distributed to the other groups.
Hogsett said, “We don’t always pick winners, but, for the most part, I think our track record has been good and what I’m so proud about with announcement today, these are groups who are doing completely different things in completely different ways but all promoting violence reduction.”
Tuesday’s $75,000 checks were ceremonial, but, for operators of Community Action of Greater Indianapolis, they hope the check will open some doors.
“We are going to go door to door accessing neighborhoods, accessing people, asking them to give skills and talents, their dreams, goals and desires, and what crisis situation they may be in,” said Val Tate, community engagement and development director for Community Action of Greater Indianapolis.
The nonprofit uses holistic approaches to the systemic plague of violence. They are located near Frederick Douglass Park in one of the highest crime areas in the city. Community Action plans to use the money to create employment programs and what they call “emotional regulation training and therapy.”
Tate says people in her service area are ready for change.
“What I feel is an excitement in the air for people that want to do and make change in their own lives, that is what I feel,” Tate said.
The city is approaching 150 criminal homicides for the year and on pace to shatter records. The mayor says overall violent crime is is down in Indianapolis, but people are shooting and stabbing one another in record numbers.
Hogsett said, “What is skyrocketing, not just in Indianapolis but throughout urban areas around the country, are homicides and nonfatal shootings. Now, they are at unacceptable levels.”