Indianapolis’ homicide rate is over three times higher than the state and national average. The city’s underfunded and poorly managed violence prevention is to blame, according to a report from the National Institute of Criminal Justice Reform.
On Wednesday, city officials announced they will be allocating federal relief funds towards gun violence reduction programs.
Indianapolis mayor Joe Hogsett announced last month that the city will use over $150 million from the American Rescue Plan to boost public safety.
The latest part of the plan is a gun violence reduction strategy, which will be led by the city Office of Public Health and Safety and the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform.
David Muhammad is the organization’s executive director. He says a big part of the safety plan will be to identify people particularly vulnerable to gun violence and work with them directly.
“Gun violence is tightly concentrated on a small number of individuals who have several high risk factors,” said Muhammad. "Those individuals are engaged in gun violence and they are identifiable. The violence is predictable, and therefore it is preventable.”
Fifty “peacemakers” in Indianapolis will be responsible for building relationships with those identified to be statistically vulnerable to gun violence. They connect the person with community resources and counseling.
Mayor Joe Hogsett says the analyses and evaluations done by NICJR will inform decision making.
“This programming is evidence based, and it is data backed,” said Hogsett. “Ultimately, it focuses on how we can identify the individuals and the groups most likely to be involved in gun violence and thereby intervene before violence occurs.”
The gun violence reduction strategy is scheduled to start in January and continue until 2024.