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Dozens of pastors, community members meet with IMPD to address violent crime

Even though the number of murders and non-fatal shootings is down from this same time last year, that’s little comfort to families who worry for their kids' safety.

INDIANAPOLIS — “We’re here because we recognize we have a problem in Indianapolis,” Pastor Richard Curry told those gathered Tuesday night at True Tried Baptist Church. 

And that problem, violent crime, brought dozens of community members, local pastors and police together, with the hopes of addressing it and the issues driving it. 

It was the fourth of six meetings IMPD is holding across the city in an effort to engage the community and start a discussion about ways to reduce violent crime.

“Out of relationships comes resources, and that’s what we need in our neighborhood — resources and relationships with people who care, and you’re here tonight because you care,” Curry told those gathered. 

“I turn on the news, there’s multiple shootings every night. There’s crime all through the 46218 area,” said mom of two, Loniqua Smith, who attended the meeting with her two young children, ages 5 and 7. 

RELATED: 1 killed in east Indianapolis shooting

Even though the number of murders and non-fatal shootings are down from this same time last year, that’s little comfort to Smith, who worries about her children’s safety.

“I watch them close when they play outside. I can’t relax. I have to stay alert,” Smith explained. 

Tuesday’s meeting comes on the heels of Mayor Joe Hogsett’s new budget proposal that comes with significant new investments in more police and crime reduction efforts. 

IMPD is offering a $10,000 signing bonus and raising an officer’s starting pay up to $61,000. 

According to IMPD, there are still 200 unfilled positions in the department. Hogsett has proposed hiring 1,800 more officers beyond that number. 

“We’re hiring, and we need your help. So not only do we need your help when it comes to solving crime, we need your help when it comes to hiring,” said IMPD Commander Ida Williams. 

Adding more police was only part of the mayor’s proposal. 

He also called for a $150 million investment over the next three years in anti-violence efforts, some of which would be community investments and addressing the root causes of violence.

RELATED: Public safety, infrastructure top of mind in Hogsett's 2023 budget proposal

“We need engagement,” said Smith. 

And meetings like Tuesday's, she said, were a start. 

“If people had a relationship with IMPD, they would probably call them before situations got so far ahead,” Smith added. 

 

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