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Mayor’s office: Indianapolis gun violence strategy is working

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis’s gun violence reduction strategy is working, the mayor’s office says, as murders are down 17% and nonfatal shootings are down 11% over the year to date in 2021.

David Muhammad, executive director of the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, said during a Wednesday news conference, “This is not a celebration of mission achieved but it is an acknowledgment of progress made.”

The program is a combination of allocating additional resources and funding to Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department to solve cases. It also includes violence interrupters and life coaches in the community to prevent crimes.

Lauren Rodriguez, the director of the Indianapolis government’s Office of Public Health and Safety, said at the news conference, “As of July 31, we have done 393 interruptions. Our outreach workers have helped 451 of our neighbors get connected to services.”

This program was funded through 2024 with money given to the city government via the federal American Rescue Plan, part of the coronavirus relief packages.

After the federal money is used, the Indianapolis-Marion County City-County Council would need to find local funding.

“Where you go after that? I do believe it is sustainable,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett, a Democrat. “We’re going to have to dedicate more resources from our local option income tax and property tax.”

Last week, a violence interrupter de-escalated a situation between two armed individuals just by being in the right place. Muhammad said, “He got out of his car, got in between them, mediated between them, calmed down the tension, they both knew him, knew him to be a credible actor in that neighborhood. He was able to calm them down and he stayed there until both of them got into their respective cars and drove off.”

Muhammad also said Indianapolis’s reduction rate far exceeds the national average of 3% in large cities.

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