INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Almost a dozen leaders in Indianapolis came together on WISH-TV Tuesday evening to talk about the problem of crime and violence in the city as well as solutions.
There’s already been 33 murders in just the first 56 days of 2020, a 74 percent increase compared to 19 murders in that same time frame last year.
After it was over, several participants tell News 8 they believe this could truly make a difference. For them, it was refreshing and inspiring to hear from others who share the same passion about making this city safer.
The hourlong special began with a conversation about the causes of the recent surge in homicides.
City in Crisis
They include emotional reasons, based on interpersonal conflict and having a lack of things worth living for. Often there’s a connection to social media where disrespecting someone isn’t done before a few people, but can now be broadcast to hundreds or thousands. Plus guns are often readily available.
There was talk that it’s time for a new set of solutions, different from what may have even worked in the past. Those solutions often have a common theme too, giving teens and adults a sense of hope: employers who will offer paid training to prospective employees, an alternative to suspensions and expulsions in schools, paying a living wage and holding misbehaving police officers accountable too.
There were a few clashes at times during the discussion, but there seemed to be a common reaction among all when it was all over.
“I felt the passion, I felt the concern,” said James Wilson, founder of Circle Up Indy.
“Tonight was phenomenal,” Malinda Coleman said.
While the 11 men and women may be leaders in their community, there was a growing realization that too often they’ve been operating independently and not aware of each other’s efforts.
“I think it’s a good starting point, as long as we keep the pedal to the metal,” IMPD Chief Randal Taylor said.
“I think it will move the needle. If it don’t, I’m going to push to make sure that it does,” Wilson said.
“I think this will lead to direct actions now,” Coleman said.
It’s why WISH-TV owner DuJuan McCoy said it’s important to set aside commercials to devote time on an important topic that affects the entire community.
“I think it’s our responsibility to help continue to advocate and to help continue the conversation and hopefully get to solutions,” McCoy said.
The time finished with a key question from moderators Phil Sanchez and Brooke Martin: “What do you need.”
Among the answers: volunteers, data and a minimum wage increase to at least $15 dollars an hour.
As for when it will become clear that this conversation starter is the beginning of the end of city in crisis, that will take longer than hours or days away but weeks, months and even years.
“The proof will be in the outcome, I always go back to the outcomes,” FOP President Rick Snyder said.
“I think we have more in common than what we think,” said Shonna Majors, the Director of Community Violence Reduction for the city of Indianapolis. “We need to build on that commonality and roll our sleeves up and get this work done.”
If you would like to watch the entire City in Crisis special, click here.