Democrats want more cops living in tough neighborhoods

Democrats in Indianapolis today proposed using $1 million of Rebuild Indy funds to refurbish or construct rent-free housing for police and sheriff's deputies in high-crime areas.

City-County Council Democrats will officially introduce Safe Neighborhoods Now! on July 14 in hopes of testing whether the concept counters crime. The houses would be built on empty lots Councilor John Barth described as eyesores that decrease property values. Officers would have the option of buying the houses after living in them for two years.

A pilot program would be developed with Mapleton-Fall Creek Community Development Corp. in the Mapleton-Fall Creek neighborhood. The $1 million would fund five houses. A statement from party officials did not specify where the houses would be located.

“This proposal will be the cornerstone of the council’s plan to ensure IMPD and sheriff resources are where they are needed the most—close to home,” Council President Maggie Lewis said in a prepared statement.

Sheriff John Layton said in the statement that he backs the idea for its potential to support community policing, neighborhood preservation and better compensation for officers.

Democrats point out that 76 people have been murdered this year, the most at this point in the year since 2008.

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