IN Focus: Hogsett unveils summer crime fighting strategy

INDIANAPOLIS - 2018 is on pace to break a record no one wants.

So far this year, there have been 68 murders. That number puts us ahead of last year. So far this year, Indianapolis is averaging one murder every two and a half days.

The mayor and police chief know those numbers are disappointing, but say they are trying to address the root causes of crime to try and cut those numbers as they gathered Tuesday to outline their crime prevention plans for the summer months.

Three years in a row and counting, Indy has set a record for murder totals. Last December, Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett unveiled a plan to reverse that trend. Unfortunately, a shooting Monday at BP gas station marks the 68th murder this year. Last year at the same there were 55 murders.

In 2017, Indianapolis set a record with 154 murders, but didn't hit 68 until July 12 when two men were shot to death on Caroline avenue. Still, the mayor remains confident in his crime fighting plan.

"I wish I could wave a magic wand and change the numbers. I do think the numbers will come down. That's our goal," said Hogsett.

In December, Mayor Hogsett promised to spend $3 million to fund a new community-based crime prevention program, employing peace makers to work the streets.

Two days into her job, the new director of that program says reaching out to at risk youth this summer will slow the violence.

"Sometimes all it takes is the right people at the right time to touch your life and encourage you," said Community Violence Reduction Director Shonna Majors.

The mayor also emphasized a continued return to beat policing, with officers walking specific neighborhoods, and a greater partnership with federal law enforcement.

"The goal is to reduce shootings and violent crime. The goal is not to arrest as many people as possible," said United States attorney Josh Minkler.

Minkler then made a promise that will take years to either prove true or false when he said, "I will tell you, violent crime will go down.  The number of shootings will go down."

"The IMPD is committed to a holistic approach. That gets into neighborhoods before anyone gets in trouble," said Hogsett.

IMPD Chief Bryan Roach says two things have caused a lot of violence this year: the dealing and possession of marijuana and people using social media to buy and sell electronics.

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