Local News / January 2, 2014

Indy Eyes A Safer 2014

Sam Klemet
Indy Eyes A Safer 2014

Indianapolis Police Chief Rick Hite says the city is safe, despite 2013 being the deadliest in seven years.

IMPD reports violent crime and non-fatal assaults involving guns are down, but murders increased last year after being below 100 for the previous four.

Indianapolis saw more than 120 people lose their life to violence in 2013.

"The resources we were using in 2009 and 2010 were no longer being used as a strategy to help reduce the violence on the street," said Rev. Charles Harrison of the Ten Point Coalition.  "I'm not surprised that we have seen quite an uptick of violence in the city."

He says during that time, $5 million of crime prevention grants were going directly to faith based and community groups to focus on violence in specific high risk neighborhoods.  They were targeting people most likely to be victims and perpetrators.

"The real issue is, you've got to deal with what is going on in the street, which requires street intervention," said Harrison.  "When you have street engagement, you hear things on the street and you are able to do conflict resolution right there on the street that may prevent someone from killing someone else, and that has been what is missing over the last two years compared to the level it was in 2009 and 2010."

Harrison believes the city needs to recommit to these efforts or the crime rate be "even worse."

"We are putting $300 million into (proposed) jails," he said.  "But, we only have $2 million to put on the front end of prevention.  We have to begin to address what the problems are in this city, if we are going to reduce it.  If we don't change course, 2014 is not going to be any different from what we experienced in 2013."

There were two homicides on New Year’s Day of 2013 and already one person has been shot and killed in Indianapolis in 2014.

"We've got to teach young people that they have to respect the sanctity of human life," said Harrison.  "You don't have the right to take someone else's life just because you are in some kind of dispute or conflict with them."

"There are more guns out on the streets; there is some much hopelessness out in these neighborhoods."