INDIANAPOLIS — A day after Mayor Joe Hogsett and other local leaders announced a $3 million investment in crime prevention, the Fraternal Order of Police delivered its response.
FOP President Rick Snyder said the plan simply isn’t enough. He also doesn’t believe the city will get the aid announced this week passed in a timely manner.
“Unfortunately, our politicians are aiming at nothing and they’re hitting it every time,” Snyder said.
Snyder dismissed the idea that the coronavirus pandemic was behind the surge in violence around Indianapolis, noting that the troubling rise in crime has been a trend for “multiple years.”
“COVID does not cause crime, criminals do,” Snyder said.
Hogsett and local leaders announced a more than $3 million investment to address public safety in Indianapolis. It’s part of the effort to combat the rise in homicides and non-fatal shootings in what is shaping up to be the deadliest year on record in the city’s history.
Here’s how some of the money will be used:
- $370,000 towards domestic violence reduction
- $350,000 toward boosted mental health infrastructure
- $390,000 toward juvenile intervention
- $680,000 to expand staffing on community justice center staffing
But Snyder said it isn’t enough. Rank-and-file officers unanimously voted to declare that Indianapolis was a “city in crisis.”
“A crisis of crime, a crisis of violence, and a crisis of confidence,” Snyder said.
Snyder outlined four steps the city should immediately take to “address the urgency” of crime in the Circle City:
- Gunshot detection system for the city to alert of locations of shots fired
- Deployment of mobile and static license plate readers to identify vehicles going in and out of the city
- Judge staffed for 24 hours a day at the arrestee processing center during the summer months to reduce “catch and release” issue and reliance on GPS monitoring
- Bring an end to low bond and automatic release of repeat convicted violent offenders for certain crimes
“It’s not what we’re looking for to lock everybody up, but we are looking to single people out who are repeatedly victimizing the community and prevent them from doing that anymore,” said Snyder.
So far this year, once every 34 hours, someone has lost their life to violence in Indianapolis and the record numbers show no signs of slowing down.
“In just 31 days this last month. 119 people were shot. 20 people were stabbed with 23 killed. That’s 139 neighbors shot or stabbed last month,” said Snyder.
A spokesman with the mayor’s office pointed out the city does employ some limited license plate readers in hot-spots and a gunshot detection system would require a substantial investment.
Even if those investments were approved they would also be long term solutions and wouldn’t help immediately.
Snyder countered that he first called for the gunshot detection system in 2019.
Mark Bode provided the following written statement:
“Over the past five years, Mayor Hogsett has used a dynamic approach to violence reduction, investing in both law enforcement and community-based organizations. The City has fully funded the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, grown the size of the force, and invested millions of dollars in organizations that are working to stop cycles of violence on a grassroots level. We have listened to feedback of community stakeholders, and brought in external experts to analyze data and help us to implement best practices. Yesterday’s announcement builds on already-historic funding levels for public safety, and its programs are directly responsive to several of the key factors contributing to the recent spike in gun violence. We will continue to engage with partners across the spectrum as we seek to make Indianapolis a safer city for all.”
The mayor’s proposal to spend an additional 3 million dollars still needs to be approved by the city-county council which could take at least another month.
Snyder did not specify how many members of the FOP took part in the vote.
“Here’s what they voted was that it lacks the urgency that’s needed right now. Anyone can throw money around talking about something that’s going to occur months or years from now. That does nothing for the issue tonight,” said Snyder.