IN Focus: Gov. Eric Holcomb, state lawmakers on reducing violent crime

IN Focus: Indiana Politics

INDIANAPOLIS – Amid a record-breaking year for homicides in Indianapolis, and rising crime rates across Indiana, state lawmakers are preparing new measures to fight violence in the city. Multiple bills are expected to be introduced in the Senate during the upcoming legislative session, all with the hopes of reducing and preventing violent crime.

Republican lawmakers from the Indianapolis area are hoping to make an impact, releasing a set of new initiatives in the state Senate which aim to “fight violent crime in Indy and beyond.”

Senate Bill 6, authored by Senator R. Michael Young (R-Indianapolis), aims to bring down the number of people released on bail who are charged with violent crimes. It would also require these suspects to pay the full cash bond, rather than surety.

“I’ve grown concerned in watching the news reports every night of our citizens being killed,” State Sen. Young said at the Statehouse. “Especially our innocent children who have played no role in anything, but have died because of the acts of other people.”

Lawmakers are also preparing to debate Senate Bill 10, authored by Senator Michael Crider (R-Greenfield). His plan establishes a pilot program, run by the Criminal Justice Institute, to give additional funds to high-crime areas to cover overtime and additional services for law enforcement. State Sen. Crider believes the bill can give officers some of the tools they now desperately need.

“I think we’ve all heard anecdotally that there are neighborhoods or spots within the county where there are problems,” State Sen. Crider explained “Hopefully this bill can give law enforcement the tools that they can use to effectively address those issues.”

Governor Eric Holcomb is also weighing in on efforts to reduce violence in the capital city. He stressed the partnership between Indiana State Police and local law enforcement, saying that both agencies work together wherever needed to deliver justice. Rather than listing specific actions lawmakers should take, Gov. Holcomb is looking forward to read what they collectively come up with. With several bills now in development, he hopes to build a framework not just for Indianapolis, but for the rest of the state as well.

“I’m, quite frankly, anxious to see more on [combatting crime], and I look forward to January when we have these discussions in depth,” Gov. Holcomb said.

One aspect taking center stage is the issue of bail reform. Some Republican lawmakers have been outspoken on the topic, especially with the relationship between Marion County Superior Court and The Bail Project. Senate Bill 8, authored by Senator Aaron Freeman (R-Indianapolis), proposes strict regulations on charitable bail organizations. On top of requiring them to register with the Department of Insurance, organizations would not be able to bail out anyone charged with a felony.

Although Gov. Holcomb is open to bail reform and several proposals by Indiana Republicans, he wants to see the actual legislation before committing to any policy.

“I actually read every word of these pieces of legislation, and one word can make a big difference,” Gov. Holcomb said. “Anything’s that’s constructive, that can help, we need to address and I applaud their efforts.”

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