Public safety survey gauges Indianapolis residents’ policing opinions

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INDIANAPOLIS — When Mayor Joe Hogsett announced this summer that he intended to re-imagine policing in Indianapolis, he first needed to find out what residents of the city think about crime and IMPD’s role in keeping them safe.

Now, criminal justice leaders have been briefed on the initial results of a survey that may be used to guide the mayor, the community and IMPD on its path to re-imagined public safety.

Hogsett called in Anne Milgram, a law professor at New York University, to lead the project, and she recently released the first findings of a survey conducted in late July of more than 1,100 city residents regarding their opinions on crime and IMPD.

“We found that folks in Indianapolis feel a little less safe than the average American, so we get 62% reporting feeling safe versus 73% based on the most recently published federal data,” Milgram recently reported to the Criminal Justice Planning Council. “We also found the Black and African American and Hispanic/Latino residents feel less safe than white counterparts.

“We found that younger residents of the city, and we do see this in other places, that they have really negative perceptions of the police,” said Milgram. “Half the respondents of the younger age group basically felt that the police were not responsive to them.”

The survey found 14% of those polled said they have been involved in a violent incident in the last year.

As of June 30, overall crime was down in Indianapolis, though murders were up 48% when compared with the year before.

Last year on this date, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department had recorded 95 homicides.

On Sunday, that number is 143, with more than a third of the year to go.

Milgram said that crime and the perception of crime are driving the fears of residents who answered that they felt less safe in their neighborhoods.

“It wasn’t just that people in communities where we see higher percentages or higher numbers of homicides and shootings happen. It wasn’t just those folks in their neighborhoods,” she said. “It was also folks in other neighborhoods, which tells us not only is there crime in their neighborhoods that they fear but also fear of crime when there isn’t crime in their neighborhood.”

While police support ranked high with 8.58% of those who responded indicating it was a priority, calls to defund IMPD ranked much lower with only 3.35% of those questioned indicating an interest.

Last week Mayor Hogsett introduced his proposed 2021 city budget which would actually increase IMPD spending by $7.7 million.

Click here to take the survey.

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