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IU crime researcher: ‘Violence is contagious’

Violence down, murder on the rise

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The city’s dark cloud of violence was punctuated Wednesday night as the lives of four people ended in the blink of an eye.

Marcel Wills, Braxton Ford, Kimari Hunt and Jalen Roberts were just getting started with lives when someone violently ended their lives.

Jeremy Carter with the Indiana University School of Public and Environmental Affairs said, “Everyone looks to the police. The police are not the solution. They are part of the solution. They are an important part of the solution, but IMPD and other officers are never going to solve Indy’s homicide problem,” Carter said.

Carter, who is an associate dean for research and the director of Criminal Justice and Public Safety at the school, said violent crime in Indianapolis is down; however, Indianapolis is going through a violent flare-up. The reason behind the violence has many facets.

“But a lot of these issues are confounding: substance abuse problems, we have mental health problems, we have violence problems, we have poverty problems, we have all kinds of problems that are all coalescing in the same locations at the same time,” Carter said.

Prior to Wednesday night, there had been 20 murders in Indianapolis at 17 different locations in 2020. Many of the areas consistently affected by crime are well-represented. Carter says that violence is contagious and people who are exposed to violent behaviors are likely to mimic the same behavior.

“If you look at the portion of people who are victims of firearm violence and offenders of firearms violence, there is a significant overlap there, so that we know that those populations overlap and so some of the interventions to target both offenders but also provide support to victims of firearm violence can hopefully get us somewhere.”

The solution to the overall violent crime issue will require police, lawmakers, civic leaders and intervention but the one of the most important pieces of the puzzle is having responsible adults in neighborhoods willing to intervene when needed.

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