Letter: An inaccurate picture of downtown crime

Your Aug. 21 editorial [Governor, mayor take solid steps on key problems of equity, crime] focused solely on insufficient numbers of bike patrols and cameras when critiquing Hogsett’s solutions for crime prevention. You show tunnel vision and are not reporting a full picture of public safety strategies being employed. You glossed over the new “ambassador program” as a mere nothing and you didn’t mention the resources that are combating homelessness and supporting businesses downtown:

 $37 million in loans and grants for businesses and nonprofits affected by the pandemic,

 $2.7 million in Emergency Solutions grants for rapid re-housing, with $7 million more dedicated,

 Additional DPW cleaning crews to combat increased littering,

 $2 million to secure hotel capacity for those experiencing homelessness during the pandemic, and

 $1 million in loans for small businesses in the food and beverage industry.

Protestors and social justice activists ask for more creative solutions that rely less on law enforcement to solve every issue. This funding and the ambassador program don’t solve it all but do offer solutions beyond the status quo “More police!”

Acknowledging increases in policing happening outside this announcement might also provide a more accurate editorial, such as a proposed $7 million increase to IMPD funding in the 2021 city budget; 57 federal agents deployed to Indianapolis for 45 days, in concert with Hogsett/IMPD, under Operation Legend to reduce gun violence; and

IMPD expanding beats from 78 to 106. A 35% increase.

The assertion of “an overall increase in violence that has occurred across the Mile Square” is not accompanied by any numbers. IMPD reported overall crime in the city being down 10% as of June. Homicides are up 50% for the entire metro area, but Hogsett recently asserted that violent crime was still down for the year.

Business owners in the Mile Square seem to be most concerned with the “unsafe” perception that comes with homelessness and defecation on sidewalks—neither of which is a violent crime. I would assert these two issues cannot be solved with increased police presence, they can however be eased short term by providing housing options and more access to toilets.

Crime prevention is not only about police. By not reporting the full picture, you mislead readers on Hogsett’s approach to public safety and advocate for over-policing.


Becky French

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