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Indianapolis Mayor highlights study linking greenspaces to reduce gun violence

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A new study has found that greenspaces in Indianapolis can help to reduce gun violence. The study, led by the University of Michigan School of Public Health, examined 36 public spaces converted into vibrant community greenspaces.

The analysis found a 12% decline in gun violence within a half-mile radius of greenspaces built with community support: A noteworthy finding, as gun violence is a serious public health problem in Indianapolis.

Mayor of Indianapolis Joe Hogsett echoed the findings and the impact gun violence has on the city.

“Our administration is working every single day to tackle the menace of gun violence in Indianapolis, leveraging new technologies, recruiting more officers and advocating for changes to misguided state policy,” Hogsett said.

In 2022, there were over 240 homicides in the city, the highest number in decades.

The findings by the University of Michigan indicate that greenspaces can help reduce gun violence in several ways. First, they can provide safe and welcoming places for people to congregate and experience fellowship. Access to greenspaces can also help build community cohesion and tolerance and lessen social isolation, both of which are risk factors for gun violence.

Additionally, greenspaces can provide opportunities for people to engage in physical activity and recreation. Greenspace access can help reduce stress and improve mental health.

greenspaces; Mayor Hogsett; KIB
(Photo provided/Mayor’s Office of Indianapolis)

The findings of the study are supported by additional research. For instance, a recent study found that greenspaces in Chicago were associated with a decrease in gun violence. Additionally, a 2022 study  found that greenspaces in Baltimore were associated with a reduction in homicides.

Keeping Indianapolis Beautiful (KIB) CEO and President Jeremy Kranowitz said that the study fortifies the idea of that a cleaner, lusher community diminishes gun violence.

“At KIB, we believe there is immense power in coming together and making our communities cleaner, greener, and – with the numbers we see in this study – safer,” Kronowitz said. “We continue to focus efforts to improve quality of life, helping people, and nature thrive. We’re delighted to expand our efforts throughout the city.”

Hogsett expressed his discontent with gun violence during the announcement of the findings.

“We won’t be satisfied until we’ve used every tool in our toolbox,” Hogsett said. This study proves something we have long believed: investments in our neighborhoods—and specifically in greenspaces—can play an outsized role in making communities safer,” said Hogsett.

Contact multi-media staff writer Noral Parham III at 317-762-7846 or via email at noralp@indyrecorder.com. Follow him on Twitter @NoralParham.

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