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Study finds ‘lack of clarity’ on what drives gun violence in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — News 8 has obtained the findings of a nonprofit’s study of how the city of Indianapolis has handled a surge in violent crime.

The city hired the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform to prepare the report, which details what the group saw as the painful shortcomings in the city’s attempt to reduce the surging gun violence.

The National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform is a nonprofit providing technical assistance, consulting, research and organizational development in the fields of juvenile and criminal justice, youth development and violence prevention and provides consultation, program development technical assistance and training to an array of organizations, including government agencies, nonprofits and philanthropic foundations, according to its website.

The primary criticism in this report was “the lack of clarity on what is driving most of the gun violence in Indianapolis.”

The report was prepared for the Indianapolis Office of Public Health and Safety’s community crime reduction team.

Matt Giffin, the interim director of the Office of Public and Safety, says the city expected some of the criticism would sting, “but I think it is fair to say that is the million-dollar question and we know some things about it. We know that it is driven disproportionately by a small number of high-risk individuals.”

Giffin says the report is a starting point.

The city of Indianapolis has spent $125,000 for the National Institute of Criminal Justice Reform to detail the crime problems in the city. They interviewed dozens of people inside and out of city government for the report and found about IMPD that “the resources the department does have are significant and have potential to be incredibly effective with much greater communication, collaboration and focus.”

“So I think anytime you hear you are making a strong effort and it is not being optimized yet, I don’t know if ‘sting’ is the right word, but it is a great spur to action to make sure we are making the best use of our resources,” said Giffin.

This report dated 2020 was not widely distributed to the public until the city had an opportunity to take some action on the recommendations.

Rosie Bryant is the lead organizer for Faith in Indiana. Her organization was instrumental in getting the city to partner with the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform.

Bryant says the city is already taking action toward gun violence: “So when the report came out, we were really excited about the changes the city is going to make to ensure that the GVI (Group Violence Intervention) is implemented well because we want bodies and lives to be saved and that is what this report is outlining.”

The report calls for the creation of a new office to facilitate communication among police and other public safety departments and an increase to the amount of money to going to community crime prevention programs.

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