INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis law enforcement and community groups are trying to get as many young people employed as possible over their summer vacation instead of sitting idle.
When teens have jobs, says Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Chief Rick Hite, crime rates go down. Similar summer employment programs were influential on his childhood, he said at a press conference Thursday.
"So what’s our choice? Either we create open spaces and safe places for young people to work and spending a quality summer, or we give them back to the street element," said Hite.
The Indy Public Safety Foundation is hoping to employ between 400 and 500 teens this summer with city agencies or participating organizations. The foundation will host a fundraising event before the Indiana Fever’s home opener game this Saturday.
Indianapolis mayor neighborhood liaison Charles Ingram says traditional jobs for kids, like delivering newspapers, are gone so it’s a challenge to find good jobs for teens.
"So we got to figure out if we want to reduce crime, what are some of the jobs we can bring back and start a young age for our youth in our community today," said Ingram.
In another youth employment effort , the Indiana Youth Institute is trying to pair non-profits that offer opportunities for young adults together.