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City touts success of Indy peacemakers

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Nearly a year after it launched, the city of Indianapolis says its peacemaker program is making an impact in reducing crime.

Tony Lopez, Deputy Director for violence reduction at the Office of Public Health and Safety, said, “Just last year our goal was 10% reduction in homicides from the year before to last year, and we saw just over 15 percent reduction in homicides.”

Paid for with American Rescue Act grant money, the Peacemaker program started with 44 case workers and violence interrupters who respond to crime scenes to gather information about the people who may be involved.

Della Brown, an outreach worker who joined the program when it launched, said, “Not only to engage in victims of gun violence but also to engage in potential perpetrators of gun violence.”

Brown has first-hand experience with losing someone close to her because of gun violence.

“My brother was a victim of gun violence, as well as one of my best friends, they actually lived here in Indianapolis so I know the trauma people face I know the negative impact gun violence does have.”

Brown and other case workers are paired up with at-risk individuals, usually ages 18 to 35 and help connect them with jobs and other resources.

The city hopes to add more Peacekeepers this year and make the program a permanent part of the budget at the grant expires.