Indianapolis nears 200 homicides as councilors study mayor’s anti-violence initiatives

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — As the city approaches a grim milestone of 200 homicides for 2021, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and police chief Randal Taylor had their monthly safety walk.

Safety walks happen monthly in different neighborhoods. By this time next month, Indianapolis could well surpass 200 homicides for the year. As of Wednesday afternoon, the count sat at 198.

Hogsett claims his latest proposed anti-violence initiatives come with hope for some progress.

People in the area of 30th and North Rural streets were receptive as the mayor and the chief of Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department traipsed through the neighborhood with a crew of officers for the monthly public safety walk. The area, as many in Indianapolis, recently was affected by violent crime.

“This general area was the site of about three homicides over the last couple of months, so it is a perfect opportunity for us to get out, talk with the neighbors, let them know we are concerned, and see if they have ideas of how we can build stronger relationships within this community,” said Michael Wolly, an IMPD commander.

One neighbor told the mayor and police chief that she was happy to see them and that she “had their back,” saying something had to be done about all of the violence.

Wolly said, “Anytime we create a scenario where people can have intimate conversations and we break down those barriers, where we can talk about just about anything, we get information. With that information, we can take action to kind of alleviate violence.”

Indianapolis is on track to break homicide records again. The city did it in 2020 with 245.

Taylor, the police chief, said, “You know, it would be great if we don’t hit that milestone, but assuming that we will, we are constantly trying to find ways to curb it. Always trying to find ways to get those people off the street that need to be off the street, held accountable for their violent acts.”

In October, the council will vote on the city’s 2022 budget. It includes the most expensive anti-violence initiative to date with a price tag of $161 million. The mayor said, “Most of those monies, a lot of them will be going to our IMPD officers, better technology and the like.”

However, the mayor is calling the three-year plan the most comprehensive in the city’s history. “Most of the three-year anti-violence program will go into violence interruption, disruption, prevention, avoidance, so that we are being as proactive as we are reactive.”

When it comes to immediate impact on violence, if the plan is approved, the mayor says don’t hold your breath. “I want to be careful about raising anyone’s level of expectation that next month or before the end of the year we are going to see a substantial decrease in the number,” Hogsett said.

The latest anti-violence plan also includes the largest IMPD budget in the department’s history as well, according to the mayor and police chief.


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