City councilors ignore requests for comment on violence

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There have been 16 homicides in Indianapolis since Aug. 29 and at least two dozen gunshots and stab wounds across Marion County.

Over the past two weeks, IMPD officers have shot at least two people they said were pointing guns at them and on Tuesday morning someone shot an officer investigating possible car break-ins at 25th Street and Post Road.

On Saturday night at Broad Ripple, a man said one or perhaps two people had pulled his car 17 times.

Children were injured, a 17-year-old was murdered outside his house on Randolph Street on Monday afternoon and the previous week a 16-year-old shot his cousin who was attacking his aunt in what detectives determined will most likely be deemed a “third person homicide defense.”

On Tuesday, FOX59 News reached out to nearly a dozen city councilors to gauge their reactions to the violence in their neighborhood and to request on-camera interviews.

Most did not respond to our request.

Others have done so with varying degrees of access.

Councilor Zach Adamson, in the neighborhood of which the teenager was killed on Monday afternoon, told FOX59 News there had been what he considered a “disruption of order” in the town, where there is “no app” of minor neighborhood issues that end up exploding. in greater confrontations and violence and that the IMPD needs “more officers” to better patrol the “hot spots” where violence is occurring and that it approves the proposals of Mayor Hogsett and the IMPD to increase spending in the coming year to hire and train more officers.

Councilor Duke Oliver, who represents the district where a woman was found shot dead at a gas station on 34th Street and Sherman Drive a week ago, said he had a plan to reduce violence but that he wasn’t ready to share it yet.

Council Chairman Vop Osili and the Chairman of the Public Security Committee did not respond to requests for an interview but issued a joint statement which read:

“Over the past year or so, it seems almost every Indianapolis vacation weekend has been followed by a grim toll of lives lost to violence. Rather, the days that should be marked with happy family reunions are marked by loved ones who come together in sorrow and disbelief. As the rest of us struggle to imagine our feelings of shock, grief and loss, let’s support families forever changed by the violence of this weekend’s shooting, and every member of this community touched by violence. Let us also remember the first responders who continue to risk their lives and face the dire consequences of violence in ways most of us will never have to.

“There are no easy answers and no immediate solutions. While law enforcement and the justice system are crucial elements in the fight against violence, we cannot arrest, prosecute or incarcerate to get out of this problem. This is precisely why the city is investing in violence prevention at the local level through its District Crime Prevention Grants program, as well as other equity-focused neighborhood initiatives to support people of all races and races. from all places in Indianapolis as we work together. to address the root causes of this violence and crimes. Even the most difficult days will not discourage us in this fight.

The only adviser who would consent to an on-camera interview was Michael-Paul Hart, a Republican who represents the Southeast District where a man was murdered on South Pasadena Street on Monday night.

“We’re always going to have random acts of violence and that’s for sure and we’re not going to change that,” Hart said. “The government will not solve any problem here. We have to look at our communities to start solving the problems.

Last spring, councilors made recommendations on how to divide $ 625,000 in District Violence Grants, with another $ 625,000 on the table early next year.

Hart said his district received $ 25,000, which he combined with grants to a neighboring district, to focus on leadership training at the community level.

“Leadership can be as simple as understanding your block, being a block captain. It can be part of a crime watch organization, ”he said. “Leadership is knowing your community and knowing how to better build your community. Knowing your neighbor and understanding your neighbor, making sure you are going to talk to people around you while understanding the challenges in your neighborhood and coming up with solutions to improve your neighborhood.

Hart said future grant recommendations will focus on mental health spending for young adults, while larger, city-wide systemic solutions are needed to tackle Indianapolis’ overall crime problem. .

“In the short term what the city can do is focus on their forensics, law enforcement and prosecutors are all starting to work in the same sandbox,” he said. said, “Because right now we have a lot of bad people getting out of the system way too easily.”

FOX59 News recently reported on cases of offenders released on relatively low bail committing additional or reoffending crimes while under court-ordered GPS surveillance while awaiting trial or serving a sentence in the community.

Since taking office on January 1, 2016, Mayor Hogsett has committed $ 16.3 million to community anti-violence grant spending.

In the upcoming 2022 budget, Hogsett increases that figure to $ 15 million per year for the next three years.

Hart said the key to the city’s approach to ending violence at the community level is to keep track of the money that has been spent and will be allocated in the future.

“In the last year and a half that I have been on the board, something that I have noticed is that we are providing money to reduce violent crime in certain initiatives through the Office of Health. and public safety and law enforcement, but we never see the results of those dollars. We are spending the money, but there is no follow-up, ”he said. “Our Office of Performance and Audit needs to take a closer look at our agencies and say, ‘We took these dollars, did we get what we were looking for with these dollars? “”

Michael-paul hart

The mayor’s office insists that the Central Indiana Community Foundation, its grant funding administrator, will oversee spending and work closely with community organizations receiving city funds.

Asked about the spasm of violence that rocked Indianapolis on Labor Day, a spokesperson for Hogsett released this statement:

“The gun violence experienced by our community today is heartbreaking and unacceptable. That’s why Mayor Hogsett has put in place a $ 150 million anti-violence plan that will invest in our law enforcement officers, giving them the tools and resources they need to hold off perpetrators responsible acts of violence, while devoting unprecedented resources to addressing the root causes of violence, crime and community groups working to stop this destructive cycle. It will take all of us to fight the scourge of gun violence and create a safer community for all who live in Indianapolis. “

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