Crime Watch 8

Indianapolis faith leaders announce 5-part initiative to curb violence

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Faith leaders on Sunday said they’re appalled by the number of homicides Indianapolis has seen this year.

The city is on pace to hit a record number by the end of the year.

Local faith leaders are looking at methods that have worked in the past and focusing on community, rather than the people committing violence.

On Sunday night, the city recorded its 119th homicide of the year. It’s a topic close to home for Bishop Donald Golder.

“We just buried my nephew, 27 years old, violently taken down last Friday. Nine bullets in his body, Golder said.

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Faith leaders say it’s not just the violent people who got the city to that homicide number. It’s the community at large — something apparent to leaders during a recent fight.

“It wasn’t the fight that disturbed me the most,” Peace in the Streets Director Aaron Williams said. “It was the crowd anticipating and egging on the confrontation and everyone standing there as if this was just some norm of life.”

So what do you do when the city is on track for a record number of yearly homicides? Faith leaders say look to the past at what’s worked before.

“Same jumper cables I used to start my 1968 Chevrolet still work on my 2008 Chevrolet,” former Deputy Mayor Olgen Williams said. “So we’re going back to use some of these same tools to get a jump start to work with groups already out here doing the work.”

A five-initiative plan was introduced: They want to meet with Mayor Hogsett and IMPD Chief Randal Taylor, call on organizations to create violence-free zones in hotspots, start weekly public safety walks this Thursday, begin a peace in the streets marketing campaign, and promote peace in worship services during August.

“A sign isn’t going to stop anyone,” Aaron Williams said. “A sign doesn’t stop you, me or the next person from going over the speed limit. What it is, is a constant reminder of the message of ‘Hey, you need to acknowledge that things need to change and be done. That’s what the actual plan is. A marketing message that’s consistent. You talk about a violence-free zone. We want the entire city of Indianapolis to be a violence-free zone.”

Faith leaders plan on praying Monday at 38th Street and Post Road, where a man was killed on Saturday. They’re set to meet with Hogsett and Taylor later in the week to accomplish one of the five initiatives.

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