INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – By year’s end the Department of Public Safety says it wants to have 1,000 volunteers helping out in the city’s most crime-ridden areas.
It’s part of the department’s new crime fighting initiative.
They also say they want to put hundreds of thousands of dollars into these areas.
They say in the last six months homicides have gone done in these areas.
Only 4% of the city’s population live in the six highest crime areas, but they account for more than 25% of the city’s crime.
DPS Director Troy Riggs say it’s about the people who live in these areas taking control, and demanding better.
“This is not a big government program, this is a philosophical change in the way we operate,” said Riggs. “What we’ve done is we’ve worked with Indianapolis and we said as a city, ‘we’re going to do something different.'”
Riggs says the difference with this initiative is getting to the root of the problem: mental health, hunger, and identifying those creating the crime.
“Remember it’s just a handful of people causing problems, but its affecting and impacting the quality of life of many of our great citizens here in our city,” said Riggs.
Riggs says homicides are down in the focus areas, but says there’s still work to do because shootings are up.
“There is no quick fix, there’s solutions, but it takes time and effort, consistent and persistent pressure and activity by all of us to help those who are suffering in these areas,” said Riggs.
“There’s not trust between parents, teachers and police officers in a lot of these neighborhoods and all through this city,” said Tim Nation, the co-founder & director of the Peace Learning Center.
The Center is based inside Eagle Creek Park. They’re going into six elementary schools, and five high schools, serving 4,500 IPS students, all from the focus areas.
“Once people get to know each other and get to see that we have shared values and we do care about children together then that’s when we’ll get things turned around,” said Nation.
Riggs is leaving office at the end July, but says steps have been taken to make sure this initiative continues.
However there’s no word yet on if who wins the mayor’s seat will continue it next year.