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Hogsett gives Violence Reduction Strategy update

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Hogsett and speakers. (Photo provided/Mayor’s Office)

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett gave an update on the $150 million Violence Reduction Strategy, now in its third year, Jan. 4. He was joined by IMPD Chief Randal Taylor, Deputy Mayor of Public Health and Safety Lauren Rodriguez, and David Muhammad of the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, who spoke on what the plan has accomplished and its goals for 2024 and beyond.

The plan combines intervention and prevention in the community of Indianapolis to provide resources to assist community members dealing with violence and to try to prevent violence or retaliation before it happens.

The funding supported investments in law enforcement, including $9 million in new policing technology and 100 new IMPD officer positions. Other investments include $45 million in grassroots violence prevention organizations, which created 50 peacemaker positions to engage with those who are at risk or have already been victims of violence, and $30 million for mental health, according to a statement released by the Indianapolis Mayor’s Office.

Hogsett said collaboration between IMPD, community-based organizations and community members is why the plan has been so effective. The number of criminal homicides, non-fatal shooting victims, aggravated assaults and robberies decreased in 2023 compared to 2022, according to IMPD statistics.

“This strategy is saving lives in the city of Indianapolis, and it’s doing so at a rate surpassing the nation at large,” Hogsett said, “But, while declines are what we want to see, even a record decline cannot speak to the experience of every resident.”

While statistics support the plan’s effectiveness, Hogsett and the speakers in attendance stressed there is still work to be done.

Taylor said there will be a purposeful effort to try and lower youth violence in the city – including addressing youth access to guns.

“It’s also our responsibility to examine the ‘Why?’ when we see trends such as the amount of officer-involved shootings that we had last year. IMPD continues to have discussions with different groups and outside companies who will look at those issues and try to help us find out that ‘Why?’”

A primary aim of the Violence Reduction Strategy is to slow youth and overall gun violence. The initiative identifies individuals who are at high risk of being involved in gun violence and, in turn, employs interventions to stop retaliatory shootings.

“What makes this strategy in Indianapolis distinctive is the specificity and the intensity of the work, to focus very specifically on the small number of individuals who are at high risk of gun violence and to engage them in intensive community-based services,” Muhammad said.

While there is still work to be done, city leaders are confident in their ability to continue lowering violence rates in Indianapolis.

“I’m confident that with our continued collaboration with our community partners and, of course, with our officers and detectives and all that are involved, we will see a safer Indianapolis,” Taylor said.

Contact Racial Justice Reporter, Garrett Simms, at 317-762-7847

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