INDIANAPOLIS — Mayor Joe Hogsett and IMPD leadership addressed their goals for 2022 to drive down violent crime, after two years of record-breaking homicides. The city said these efforts would not be possible without the $150 million of federal money from the American Rescue Plan to be spent over three years.
“There are many facets of accountability, both on the city’s side as well as the grantee’s side,” said Office of Public Health & Safety Director Lauren Rodriguez. “The city is required to go through a very long list of requirements for these ARPA dollars in terms of contracting. So, if we have any contracts that go out, it will be required that we have to have these very detailed budgets, very detailed proposals, making sure that we are getting it out there to multiple people to apply.”
The city will spend $45 million over three years on grassroots organizations’ crime prevention efforts, plus $30 million for mental health services.
“It’s not soft on crime,” Rodriguez said. “What I would like to point out is that if OPHS and programs like the program we are setting up can address the root causes, then the crime wouldn’t even ever occur.”
Rodriguez committed to updating the city-county council, therefore the public, monthly on how these ARPA dollars are being spent.
“We have to make sure with data collection, with information, monthly check-ins that this money is going to the right people and the right organizations,” Rodriguez said.
IMPD Asst. Chief Christopher Bailey said the police department will spend its federal money on hiring 100 more officers, civilian employees for non-emergency needs and $9 million toward modern technology such as a gunshot detection pilot program, more public safety cameras and more license plate readers.
“Everything we do needs to be constitutionally sound,” Bailey said. “We are committed to constitutional policing while focusing on that small number of people committing the violent crimes.”
Bailey said IMPD will also be held accountable for its spending.
“We had to provide justification for every bit of the money we’re going to spend,” Bailey said.
Officers said their main goal is to drive down the violence, and knowing exactly who is perpetrating these acts is crucial.
“It’s not just that block, but it’s that house,” Capt. Brady Ball said. “It’s not just that house but it’s the people that show up to that house and sell drugs. It’s the person that drives up to buy drugs.”
IMPD reports new info on shooting incidents and illegal guns
During Monday’s news conference, IMPD said the department is working with an outside data consultant to collect more information that is “easily accessible to the public.”
Officers said as of Monday, homicide numbers are down 35% compared to this time last year and non-fatal shooting incidents are also down 40% from last year. IMPD also increased its clearance rate by 6% from 2020 to 2021.
Bailey also gave an update on the success of the Enhanced Community Safety Initiative which created the violence reduction teams and violent crimes task forces last spring. In 2021, those teams seized 853 guns and made 1,697 total felony and felony warrant arrests.
In 2021, the Indiana Crime Guns Task Force, which is an expansion of the Indianapolis Crime Gun Intelligence Center, seized 288 guns and made 270 arrests. This task force is a regional effort.
“You don’t become arrested by the Indiana Crime Guns Task Force unless you have been engaging in some sort of violent crime,” Bailey said.