Violent crime spurred by underlying issues, community leaders say

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.- As the number of homicides in Indianapolis continues to rise, many are wondering how the city got to this point? People who deal with these issues every day say it’s a combination of factors--poverty, drugs, and broken homes. The question is how does Indianapolis move beyond this troubling trend?

For example, on May 28th police say 18-year-old Elijah Lacey was shot and killed outside a liquor store on the east side; just one of the more recent killings in an already violent 2018.

“That was a pretty rough time period for us, and I just hope it doesn’t happen again,” said Adryan Hall, who knew Lacey from high school.

Lacey’s murder is one of more than 60 this year alone.

“I think it’s hitting our community and our city in a greater way,” said Dr. Christopher Holland, an area pastor and youth advocate.

Already this year, 64 homicides have taken place in Indianapolis, with each of the past two years setting a new record for homicides.

Poverty, lack of education, and drugs are just a few of the underlying issues, according to local peace activist Horatio Luster.

“[It] didn’t take us just one year to get here, it’s taken us a while to get where we are,” said Luster, “it’s going to take us a while to fix the problem.

And a fix is what community and city leaders are trying to nail down.

“I feel like we’re starting to collectively move in the right direction in terms of logistics for the police department,” said Fraternal Order of Police President Rick Snyder.

While the numbers are sobering, there is still optimism on the streets,

“I feel that crime is a learned behavior, and if you have learned how to be violent, you can learn how to be productive,” said Luster.

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