I-Team 8

Mayor Hogsett: New spending plans not a magic wand against crime

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Mayor Joe Hogsett on Thursday announced new plans to address the root causes of crime.

The plans come as the city’s homicide rate soars into record territory.

The mayor said in a news conference at Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church that the city will spend nearly $2 million to implement and expand community-based programs. Here’s a look at where the money will go.

  • $370,000 to domestic violence reduction. 
  • $350,000 to boost mental health infrastructure. 
  • $390,000 to juvenile intervention.
  • $680,000 to expand staffing at the assessment and intervention center. 
  • $1.5 million in law enforcement technology, including community interaction systems, upgrades to technology infrastructure, increasing staff for data work, and increasing officer accountability.

Just a few hours before the mayor’s anti-violence announcement, police found a man shot to death while sitting in a car on the west side of town. On average, at least four people are shot, stabbed or both in Indianapolis; it’s being called one of the most violent times in the city’s history. Asked how Hogsett was going to bring that number down, he responded, “I want to make it clear that you have not been given 30 minutes of rhetoric. You have been given 30 minutes of pretty substantive ideas.”

The Democrat mayor admitted the new programs are not a magic wand that will cure the rising tide of violence in the city.

“I do think they are substantial investments they are assessing and … and acknowledging kind of the underlying cause, the root causes in ways we have not necessarily emphasized before,” Hogsett said. 

The focus of these new programs: intervention in domestic violence and youth violence. 

The mayor said Thursday’s announcement involves extensions of programs he put into place over the course of his five-plus years in office. Over that time, homicide rates have soared; according to data from the local Fraternal Order of Police, one person is murdered in the city every 36 hours. 

Again, News 8 asked the mayor how are these programs will make a difference. He said, “Few cities frankly have been able to escape the rising tide of gun violence but we are here today because we care about our city and we are focused on our city. We are attempting to combine both community input with … national best practices, and I’m confident this is an important step forward.” 

The funding for these programs has not been approved by the City-County Council, which next meets Monday. The mayor is sending this proposal to the council’s Public Safety Committee and then to council, so it could be early July before the council gets a look at the funding plans.

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