Free housing for police could decrease crime

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Indianapolis City County Council Democrats released a proposal to improve neighborhoods, reduce crime and increase police visibility during a Wednesday news conference.

Under the plan a million dollars from the Rebuild Indy would be re-purposed for home rehabilitation. The Mapleton Fall- Creek Community Development Corporation would rehab up to five houses in high crime areas in the city.

Selected Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Officers would be allowed to live in those homes rent free for up to two years. After those two years are over, officers will have the option to purchase the homes. Council Democrats believe their plan gives neighborhoods a permanent public safety presence, and it would put a home back on the property tax rolls.

This concept comes at a time when there have been 75 murders in the city, and there are signs this trend will go up as temperatures increase this summer.

“Indianapolis neighborhoods have suffered far too long from the ongoing violent crime wave,” said Council President Maggie A. Lewis.

This proposal is still in the early phases. Council members will discuss the proposal at the next council meeting on July 14th.

Yolanda Gilliam lives a block away from one of the homes used as a back drop at Wednesday’s newsier. Gilliam adds she is often fearful to walk outside her home which is near 33rd and Broadway. She did admit that having an officer living next door would make her feel safer.

“He can’t protect my house when I’m not here,” said Gilliam. “I can go on vacation and he can still protect my house.”

Mayor Greg Ballard’s Chief of Staff Ryan Vaughn released a statement shortly after the Democrats plan was released.

We have not received any communication from the Council Democrats regarding this plan. If the goal is to have officers live in the neighborhoods they patrol in an effort to make them safer, the first step should be asking the FOP and Sheriff’s office to work with the state to change the law that lets officers live outside the city they serve.  Currently, 241 IMPD officers live outside of Indy, accounting for $15M in salaries. The Sheriff’s numbers are not available, but believed to be the same. Moving those officers back to Indy would benefit all neighborhoods, not just one.  These officers are paid with Indy tax dollars, yet their taxes are going to benefit neighborhoods in surrounding counties, not Indy.

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