Indiana state senator to propose task force focused on violent crime

IN Focus: Indiana Politics

INDIANAPOLIS – An Indiana state senator wants to create a task force that would explore ways to fight violent crime.

“It’s escalated exponentially,” said Rev. James Jackson, president of the Far Eastside Action Coalition. “It’s much worse than it was.”

That’s how Rev. Jackson describes the rise in violent crime in Indianapolis. It’s something he and his community organization are trying to address.

“It never used to be that way in Indianapolis,” Rev. Jackson said.

And it’s not just large communities that have seen a rise in violent crime since the pandemic began. It’s also impacting Cumberland, a community near Indy of about 10,000 people, according to Det. Sgt. Mark Waggoner of the Cumberland Police Department.

“Since April of 2020 to now, we’ve seen four homicides, which Cumberland’s average used to be one every two years,” Det. Sgt. Waggoner said.

“We’ve had about six or seven non-fatal shootings in that time frame as well, which usually we average maybe one or two a year,” he added.

Some Indiana lawmakers say they want to take action this session.

State Sen. Fady Qaddoura (D-Indianapolis) plans to introduce a bill that would create a task force focused on addressing violent crime.

“The state has a vested interest in our communities,” State Sen. Qaddoura said.

Qaddoura said he wants to see criminal justice officials, community leaders and other experts serve on the task force and work together on ideas for state legislation.

“Some of those are most likely going to be on the social and economic level to empower families in our communities,” Qaddoura said. “And some of them are going to be on the criminal justice and public safety side.”

If the task force is created, Rev. Jackson said he hopes it will consider social reforms and increased investment in the criminal justice system.

“I don’t think we’ll be able to totally and completely fix it overnight,” Rev. Jackson said of Indy’s rise in violent crime. “But if we start investing our resources in the right places I think we can see a difference overnight.”

We have reached out to some Republican state senators who have backgrounds in law enforcement to get their thoughts on the proposal. We are waiting for their response.

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