INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — When Trymaine Lewis was gunned down in front of a crowd at a liquor store on Roosevelt Ave. Saturday night, he became the 44th murder victim of the year in Indianapolis. The city’s killing tally is keeping pace with last year’s record total.
As of April 30, there were 113 non-fatal shootings in Indianapolis compared to 162 at the same time last year.
What might appear to be a statistical lull in advance of what could once again be a traditionally violent summer is to Mayor Joe Hogsett a turning point and a reason to renew his commitment to fighting crime by re-booting the Indianapolis Violence Reduction Partnership.
“We are recommitting to this partnership and collaboration at a time when we’re not reacting,” said Hogsett, “rather I would consider it proactively doubling down.”
The IVRP is a collaboration of officers and detectives who work the streets, bringing their knowledge of crime and criminals to supervisors who can identify patterns across jurisdictions and commit to investigations that result in criminal cases brought forth by county and federal prosecutors.
Hogsett, who resigned as U.S. Attorney for Southern Indiana in order to run for mayor in 2014, lists the criteria that the IVRP will examine and target.
“Such as crimes involving young people,” he said, “suspects and victims that share extensive criminal histories, concentrated geographic areas and more.”
IMPD Chief Bryan Roach said investigators will emphasize attention to chronic violent offenders, probation and parole violators and case reviews to make sure no investigation or prosecution falls through the cracks, including “a joint federal and local police and prosecutor firearms review so any firearms case that law enforcement develops will be reviewed to see if it warrants or we get a better bang for our buck going through the federal system or the state system.”
The re-introduction of the IVRP, a cooperative agreement that lasted through the 1990s until 2004, is the latest promise of a unified local, state and federal approach to solving crime in Indianapolis.
Other cooperative agreements, also announced with great fanfare, floundered by a lack of consistent commitment from leadership and the assignment of manpower necessary to carry out the laborious task of gathering and examining intelligence and data for trends while focusing on unified investigative priorities.
Chief Roach also said he is counting on community buy in to make the IVRP a success.
The program will include an executive law enforcement group, law enforcement working group and community group.
“I think you know IVRP was successful in the late ’90’s,” Rev. Charles Harrison with the Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition said.
The group was involved in the IVRP’s first run.
“It really was a partnership between police, they mayor’s office, community, the faith based community and the business community to try to address really the root causes that was leading to the violence,” Harrison said.
Police said they’re still working to form some of the groups.
Watch the Mayor and the Chief’s press conference below: