Curbing violent crime

By Charles Barron

5 Rights | staff writer

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard unveiled a new initiative this week  to curb violent crime among Indianapolis’ youth.

Announced at Broad Ripple Park, at the center of the program, is the Youth Violence Reduction Team: a collaborative effort between the city’s Department of Public Safety, Wishard’s Prescription for Hope, Ten Point Coalition, Peace Learning Center and Juvenile Courts and Probation.

“The team will utilize established violence and crime prevention programs and real-time crime data to build neighborhood-level partnerships that will create safer environments for our youth,” Ballard said.

Public Safety Director Frank Straub called the neighborhoods where the program will be focused – on the Westside near Speedway, the Northeastside, and the Eastside – “hot spots.”

Juvenile Court and Probation will help identify at-risk youth  while the Ten Point Coalition will provide pre- and post- incident street outreach to those teens.

Finally, the Prescription for Hope will offer consultation in violent crime situations as well as workshops on preventing violent crime. The Wishard group also will offer anti- violence education.

“Since its inception, Prescription for Hope has focused on reducing repeat violent personal injury and criminal activity by helping patients and their families make life-changing and life-saving choices,” said City-County Councillor Benjamin Hunter, chairman of the city’s public safety committee.

The plan is that that the program’s influence on youth will reduce violent retaliation crimes and subsequent hospital visits. According to Dr. Gerardo Gomez ofWishard Health Services, 31% of youth involved in violent crimes and treated at the hospital are readmitted.

Some people are skeptical whether the program will work but others welcome the initiative.

“(Crime) has spun out of control,” said Althea Ross, who lives on the city’s Northeastside. “People are afraid because nobody wants to die.”


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