Indianapolis just recorded its most violent year ever with 244 homicides in 2020. City and law enforcement leaders weighed in Tuesday on local trends and their plans to address the issue in 2021.
Indianapolis, like other large cities, saw a spike in violent crime with criminal homicides and non-fatal shootings up 40 percent. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said the city is focused on the causes of violence.
“We must seek to know why this is happening to better combat this deadly violence,” Hogsett said.
He said many factors are worsened by the pandemic, including economic stress.
Officials emphasized reforms to IMPD to help improve public safety and community relations including new police body and street cameras, improved data collection, continuing to evolve use of force policies and increased mental health response.
IMPD Chief Randal Taylor said too many people are turning to guns to solve problems.
“Your life is worth more than that,” Taylor said. “Please walk away before you do something that will fundamentally change your life forever.”
Officials said they will continue to support community policing efforts and violence intervention.
Shona Majors Community Violence Reduction Director emphasized efforts to address the root cause of violent crime. These include a new mental health campaign and ongoing efforts to reach those most at risk of violence.
“This work really focuses on prevention, intervention, interruption, healing, living and success,” Majors said.
Last year the city’s Office of Public Health and Safety served more than 10,000 families through food and hygiene product distributions organized with community partners. And more than 400 Indianapolis youth participated in activities through its Safe Summer Friday nights.
Overall crime in Indianapolis is down nine percent.