After a record-breaking year of homicides in 2021, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) announced its initiatives for 2022, including decreasing gun violence, increasing public access to mental health services and expanding community engagement.
“Through our three-year, $150 million comprehensive violence reduction plan, we are tackling gun violence with a focus on both root causes and law enforcement,” Mayor Joe Hogsett said during a press conference Jan. 24. “While it is necessary that we offer alternative paths to individuals trapped in the cycles of violence, we also need to ensure our message is clear: If you possess an illegal gun or if you intend to harm someone, you will be held accountable.”
Assistant Chief Chris Bailey said the Enhanced Community Safety Initiative — launched in April 2021 — seized 853 illegally-owned guns in 2021. In July 2021, the Indianapolis Crime Guns Intelligence Center (ICGTF) expanded into a regional task force, the Indiana Crime Guns Task Force, which partners with law enforcement agencies in several counties. In 2021, ICGTF seized 288 firearms and entered over 4,000 firearms into the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network. This national network allows for comparison of ballistic evidence to help solve crimes involving firearms.
Bailey said IMPD will focus on connecting Indianapolis residents in need with mental health and substance abuse support. The Mobile Crisis Assistance Team — a partnership between IMPD and Eskenazi Hospital — responded to 979 calls in 2021, with 97.3% of cases not resulting in arrest.
Both Hogsett and IMPD are optimistic about 2022 — homicide numbers are down 35% compared to this time last year — but said there’s still work to be done to decrease violent crime and build trust within the community.
To engage with residents, IMPD will host six town hall discussions, with the first scheduled for 6 p.m. Jan. 31 at the Southeast District. The first event will be virtual due to a surge in COVID-19 cases. Each discussion will include a question-and-answer period and will be held at each district.
- 6 p.m. Jan. 31, Southeast District
- 4 p.m. Feb. 15, Downtown District
- 6 p.m. March 14, Northeast District
- 6 p.m. March 28, Southwest District
- 6 p.m. April 11, North District
Along with efforts from IMPD, the Office of Public Health and Safety recently announced 35 peacemakers are currently working in the community to engage with residents and prevent violent crime. Hogsett said, thanks to federal funding from the American Rescue Plan, the number of peacemakers in Indianapolis could increase to 50 in the coming months.
Contact staff writer Breanna Cooper at 317-762-7848. Follow her on Twitter @BreannaNCooper.