City police will spend this summer focusing on efforts to reduce violent crime, while also launching a major prevention effort to address the root causes of crime, disrupt the spread of violence, and foster positive youth engagement.
“Today, we continue to stand together as one city, united against the cycle of crime that impacts too many of our neighborhoods,” Mayor Joe Hogsett said on June 19. “From directing resources toward our at-risk youth, to comprehensive enforcement of gun-related crimes, to the relationships that beat officers are building in the neighborhoods they serve – together, these efforts over the summer months will continue to usher in a safer and brighter future for the entire Indianapolis community.”
Following are major points of the initiative, as reported by city officials:
Project Safe Neighborhoods Juvenile Re-Entry Program
This new program aims to increase job readiness, improve employment and educational opportunities, and decrease the criminal activity of young adults ages 17 or older who are under supervision of the Marion Superior Juvenile Probation Department and have a history of association with a firearm, making them at heightened risk of committing or becoming a victim of a crime involving a gun. The program will couple case management with employment navigator services, occupational skills training, and financial coaching and embraces the ‘Earn While You Learn’ model – participants will earn a paycheck as they build the skills needed to achieve positive educational and employment outcomes. This effort is the result of a collaboration between OPHS, Marion Superior Juvenile Probation, Connections, Inc., and Edna Martin Christian Center. This program is funded by the PSN Board.
“The enhancements we continue to make to our crime prevention efforts have led to a better understanding of the beats our officers are serving in,” said Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Bryan Roach. “When we pair crime data with the neighborhood-level knowledge of a beat officer, the intelligence that results allow us to police more effectively and devote more time to developing relationships with the youth in our community who are most at risk.”
Targeted enforcement in neighborhoods
On April 23, IMPD returned to community-based beat policing, rolling out 78 beats across the city that are enabling officers to build relationships and trust within the neighborhoods they serve. These relationships, combined with enhanced analysis of crime data, allow for a deeper understanding of neighborhood-level crime trends and makes it possible for IMPD to target enforcement of violent offenders, particularly juveniles, who are at risk of involvement in a firearm crime. These targeted efforts include:
- Monitoring the daily release of high-risk juvenile offenders and conducting home visits with Marion County Probation targeted at juveniles involved in gun crimes.
- Ramped up staffing in the homicide unit and partnering across Indianapolis law enforcement agencies to consistently address and follow-up with individuals involved in all shootings and homicides.
- Providing daily beat missions to officers based on 24-hour crime trends. This intelligence is used to develop neighborhood-specific enforcement efforts to address the problems identified by commanders and shift supervisors.
- A Gun Liaison Program enhancing gun intelligence efforts to ensure the immediate and thorough investigation of gun crimes. The liaison officers on each district are specially-trained to process and collect crime guns to make sure proper forensic evidence is preserved for prosecution by the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office and U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Intervention with at-risk youth
Following a 2013 hiring freeze that saw IMPD lose roughly 10% of its operational force, Mayor Hogsett remains committed to hiring a net gain of 150 police officers – allowing for officers to spend more time engaging with at-risk youth through strategies that include:
- Positive programming such as Southeast Community District Resource Council’s Youth Leadership Academy and Mountain Bike Skills Park which aims to reach an additional 1200 young people in 2018.
- Identifying and partnering with groups that work to change young men’s lives.
- Social skills development for youth such as the Gang Resistance Education and Training program.
- Expanded access to wraparound social services for families with young adults through programs such as the Marion County IMPACT panel for parents and guardians of chronically truant students.
Neighborhood-based crime prevention
IMPD’s neighborhood-based crime prevention efforts are designed to work in concert with the Community-Based Violence Prevention Partnership – a grant program administered by OPHS that will award nearly $300,000 in funding to community organizations to support evidence-based violence reduction programming and wraparound services. IMPD’s crime prevention efforts include:
- Additional bike and foot patrols across the city and directed patrols in high-crime neighborhoods.
- Continuing to expand the resources available to responding officers through innovative programs that address root causes of crime including homelessness, food insecurity, and poverty.
- ‘Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design’ educational programming for neighborhoods.