Fact checking claims made by Indianapolis mayoral candidates

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — On November 5th voters in Indianapolis will go to the polls to cast ballots for the city’s next mayor in the most expensive election ever of its kind.

As of October 17th, Joe Hogsett, the incumbent Democrat, reported that he had raised $5,648,391.56 with $972,381.25 still in the bank.

Challenger Jim Merritt, a Republican state senator from Indianapolis’ north side, raised $782,621.84 for this year’s race with $151,580.14 left to spend.

Libertarian Douglas McNaughton reported that he had raised $1,824.89 with $424.90 left over.

A CBS4 web survey found voters list public safety as one of their top concerns in this election.

Merritt has continually hammered Hogsett’s record on public safety.

During his single mainstream TV commercial, Merritt claims, “Business is Booming,” for criminals in Indianapolis, citing the city’s, “new record murder rate.”

While 2018 did set an annual high mark of 178 homicides, IMPD statistics show compared to October 18, 2018, there had been seven fewer homicides in Indianapolis this year than last.

Likewise, the FBI recently published IMPD statistics that show reported crimes consistently dropped during the first three years of the Hogsett administration and violent crime reports were down four percent last year.

Hogsett’s campaign, owing to the record amount of donations it’s collected, released at least five television ads dating back to early June.

The most recent commercial, titled, “Crime Prevention,” claims Hogsett will have added 150 additional officers to IMPD’s ranks and expanded community policing.

During budget hearings last month, IMPD Chief Bryan Roach told city county councilors that by the end of the year, counting sworn officers and recruits, the police department will have 1743 officers and plans to patrol 106 beats next year, up from 78 beats this year.

“We’ve added over a million dollars in grants to help grassroots anti-crime groups,” Hogsett says in the ad.

A review of budget and official news releases indicate Hogsett’s spending, when combining citywide budget appropriations and grants controlled by the mayor’s office, will reach $1.6 million total by 2020, not including $900,000 which will be allocated in total for witness and victim protection and support services through next year.

On October 28th FOX59’s Dan Spehler will host a three-way mayoral candidate debate at seven p.m. at the Wayne Township Chapel Hill 7th & 8th Grade Center at 7320 West 10th Street.

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