INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — So far in 2021, 191 people have died as a result of gun violence in Indianapolis.
The increase is having an impact on people across the city, and that includes those who work with victims’ families.
Even after nearly 30 years on the job, the sound of sirens blended with the blue and red flicker of lights still sends chills up Lisa Brown’s spine.
“People don’t get over this — they get through it. Those are two totally different things,” Brown said.
She is the victim assistance manager for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, and her job is to help families after they lose a loved one to violence. Recently, she said her job has become more intense.
“I think that there’s a certain expectation that, you know, kids eating dinner should be safe, and I think it’s shocking and heartbreaking when they’re not,” Brown said.
Brown said she can’t remember a time where so many children were at the center of crime. It’s one reason her team has been more proactive about getting to scenes faster, an effort she says began sometime last year.
“We have a whole lot more families reaching out. We are trying our best to work with homicide to be at the scene and we find when we meet families at the scene, they’re a little more receptive of the services that we offer,” Brown said.
News 8 has reported on eight children killed in homicides so far this year. That number excludes the dozens of others who have been injured in shootings.
IMPD Chief Randal Taylor said when it comes to kids, more has to be done.
“Unfortunately, now, I’m reaching out after the fact. We’ve got to find ways to impact our youth, especially,” he said.
Mayor Joe Hogsett is hopeful more preventative work will begin after his $150 million crime plan is approved by the City- County Council. When asked about what is being done in the meantime, Hogsett said it’s up to everyone.
“If we can engage neighborhood leaders and neighborhood groups who do an excellent job of helping patrol their neighborhoods, if we can engage them in this process, I think that we can prevent crime from happening instead of simply reacting like we are doing right now as a result of a shooting 5 minutes ago,” he said.
For the resources to really help, the IMPD chief also said the community has to be receptive.
“People, again, making ridiculous choices to pull triggers on people for no good reason, and until we get on top of that, until we find a solution to help people think these things through before they do that, I’m afraid we’re gonna be dealing with this for a minute,” he said.
Recruitment is also a major focus for the mayor and the police chief. They eventually want there to be more than 1,800 IMPD officers. As of July, the department had 1,642.