Indy elected officials fund grassroots organizations in hopes of solving root causes of crime


INDIANAPOLIS — A search for solutions is intensifying as Indianapolis grieves more people killed by homicides than any other year in the city’s history. So far 187 people have been killed.

Tuesday, city leaders came together to address the deadly violence, but they admit there is no immediate solutions to the crime. Indianapolis has put millions of dollars into grassroots organizations and they say the payoff will take time.

Shonna Majors is Indianapolis’ first-ever appointed director of community violence reduction. In her role, she works with out city’s grassroots organizations geared toward intervening or hopefully preventing crime. She said COVID-19 has taken a severe toll on their work.

“A lot of this work is face-to-face, touching people, loving on people and with the COVID we can’t necessarily be in that place and that space right now,” Majors said.

Majors’ team looks to several cities across the country for best practices on preventing crime and intervening. They just got back from Oakland, California, to learn about Operation Ceasefire, which the program said has led to significant reductions in homicides since its implementation in 2012.

“We were affirmed on a lot that the work that we’ve been doing and continue to do is a part of a bigger plan of what we need to be doing,” Majors said.

The city pours millions of dollars in its grassroots organizations. The funding includes an additional $100,000 for the Group Violence Intervention Program, which helps to intervene in the lives of those people who are most likely to commit a crime or become a victim.

They have also invested $4 million in violence reduction programming for the 2021 budget. Elected officials said there is no silver bullet to solve the violence plaguing Indianapolis. Instead, we all must work together to address root causes of crime–like poverty.

“The spike in homicides does not reflect the commitment of our grassroots anti-violence organizations, our police or even to an extent, even our city,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett.

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