Make your home page

City and community leaders discuss youth violence in Indianapolis

City and community discuss youth violence

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — City leaders, Indianapolis clergy, and local community groups are working together to address the issue of young people and violence. It’s a problem plaguing police and parents in Indianapolis.

On Tuesday, a panel discussion was held at the Jewel Event Center on North Illinois Street with the theme, “Save Our Youth.” News 8’s Alexis Rogers was the event moderator, and the Inter-denominational Ministerial Alliance of Greater Indianapolis put together the panel.

What people talked about most was that there are too many guns in the hands of young people.

According to the National Gun Violence Archive, 57 kids under age 18 have been hurt or killed by guns this year in Marion County, including a 5-year-old boy who died in an accidental shooting and a 13-year-old girl fatally shot at a party in March.

Marion County Prosecutor Ryan Mears was on the panel and says this year has been record-breaking for situations with kids and guns. He’s putting some of the blame on the state’s new permitless carry law.

“Bad public policy decisions have consequences on our community and permitless carry is a perfect example of that. There are more guns in our community than we have ever had,” Mears said.

“As an agency, the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office has filed more dangerous possession of a firearm — which means kids with a firearm — than we have ever filed this year. It is our number one charge. We have also dealt with more kids unintentionally killing one another because they have access to firearms.”

The discussion on youth violence hopes to help stop this growing problem. Police, prosecutors, pastors, and many other leaders came together to talk, find solutions, and hear from the public.

Organizers say they all need to work together to reduce crime for youth in the city.

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Randal Taylor was a part of the panel and spoke about its impact.

“On the law enforcement side, we of course are concerned with the crime rate and what it does — but unlike them, our solution is we typically make an arrest. What I like hearing from the other people is they are looking for ways to keep these youth from doing it in the first place. Find out why they feel they have to carry guns and why there is so much anger. And those things are outside our lane, but certainly, we need to know about them and work with the community to solve this problem,” Taylor said

Taylor went on to say more parents need to be involved in these conversations and more involved with their kids.

The Save Our Youth, panel is something that has been done in the past, however this year they added more people and hope that the new additions will help make a change.