Crime Watch 8

45-day federal program to reduce violence in Indianapolis extended indefinitely

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Thursday, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana Josh Minkler said the 45-day federal initiative to reduce crime in Indianapolis is extending, this time with no set expiration date.

Operation Legend is a partnership between federal agents and local law enforcement that was supposed to end Wednesday.

Minkler’s announcement to continue the operation came just hours after Indianapolis reached 172 homicides so far this year, which is also the total count for all of 2019.

For the past 45 days, 57 federal agents have been working in Indianapolis streets and Minkler said it’s paid off.

“In the 45 days prior to operation Legend, from July 1st to August 15th, there were 39 homicides and 31 murders. When operation Legend was implemented and that’s August 15th through September 30th, there were 25 homicides and 23 murders so that is a 35 percent reduction in homicides and a 25 percent reduction in murders,” said Minkler.

Additionally, he said 57 people have been charged in 48 cases for federal crimes related to gun violence and 176 guns used in crimes have been taken off the streets.

Minkler said $1,471,000 from both drug deals and money spent on drugs has been collected. The agents have also seized more than 50 pounds of meth, more than 2 pounds of fentanyl and more than 3 pounds of heroin.

During the collaboration, the U.S. Marshal Service arrested 61 fugitives.

“These are very serious individuals that have been taken off the streets and it’s made the streets safer,” Minkler said.

He is working to keep the program around as long as he can.

“We think that will drive down the number of homicides, it’s clearly driving them down now. A permanent solution to shootings is a bigger issue, right? Arrests and prosecutions are certainly part of the solution but I’ve said many times arrests are not the only solution. You have to address the root causes, but you have to make it safe to address the root causes,” Minkler said.

He said the Department of Justice just approved a nearly $1 million grant for the Indiana Department of Corrections. The goal is to expand existing programs and create new ones aimed at reducing crimes committed by people on probation or under parole supervision.