Indy community members, police discuss ideas to help prevent gun violence

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Joyce Rowe has lived in the part of Indianapolis that proudly calls itself Haughville, U.S.A. 11 years and she says the violence in her community is getting worse.

“There are some new people who have moved in so we hear gunshots and a couple houses have been broken in,” she said.

Tuesday night, Rowe’s neighbors on the west side have been invited to a meeting at the Haughville Branch of the Indianapolis Public Library to share ideas on how to make their city safer from gun violence.

“We’re partnering with IMPD and we want to get citizens as well as young people information on responsible gun ownership,” said Minister Dave Rozzell of the Indiana Healthy Marriage and Family Coalition. He suggested one idea was to convince IMPD to, “Help parents who are willing to come forward and say, ‘Look, my 14- or my 15-year-old brought a gun home what can I do about it?’ and be able to approach that situation where that child can be convinced that they can turn that gun in, and as long as it hasn’t been used in the commission of a crime, then they can turn that gun in without punishment.”

With the discovery a man’s body on Shelby Street this morning, Indianapolis’ 2019 homicide total reached 142, five below last year’s record pace at this time.

Of this year’s homicides, 115 have been as the result of gunshot wounds as three out of every four victims have died of gunfire.

“I think parents need to educate themselves,” said Rowe, the mother of a police officer in Shelby County. “And here I just thought it was just easy to have something, to have a gun and just point and shoot, but it’s a lot more than that. You need to educate yourself on gun safety.”

One young man in the parking lot of the library this afternoon explained that his sister had been shot to death not far away in 2016, but he declined an interview, saying, “It’s not going to do any good.”

“We’ve heard that same comment,” said Rozzell. “There unfortunately is a lot of apathy in the community surrounding this issue I think because maybe for the fact that for the fourth year in a row last year we had a record number of homicides and the numbers are approaching another record this year, so once we submit to that, we’re lost, so we will continue to encourage people to care about this and to come out and show your support and to give what you think will be a solution.”

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