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Crime Prevention Task Force tackles thorny problem

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Lynsay Clutter
/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - A diverse group of city leaders met Thursday morning to outline a plan to attack crime. The meeting of the crime prevention task force took place as the county recorded its 105th murder of the year.

More officers are patrolling, keeping watch on neighborhoods and keeping kids in school. But policing and the justice system are only one part of the crime battle.

"I'm looking for practical solutions, practical ideas. I want to know what works," said Mayor Bart Peterson.

The Community Crime Prevention Task Force met for the first time Thursday morning: On the table: crime trends, who's doing it, and why.

"I have 100 or more people who are in jail because of drug addiction. They need counseling. They need treatment," said Sheriff Frank Anderson.

The first step was to divide up into eight subcommittees from areas like education to youth empowerment. The groups will research and eventually make recommendations to the mayor.

Ideas are forthcoming. Task Force members say they are inspired, but note the challenges ahead. "How do we balance the immediate with the longer term prevention? That's an important challenge for this group because we can't do one without the other," said Ellen Annala, United Way.

With the public's help, they will also determine which social programs already work and which ones should expand.

"We don't have to reinvent the wheel, but we may have to add some components to the wheel that's already rolling," said Pastor Michael Jones, Progressive Baptist Church.

Engaging the community is a big part of the plan. There will be two open meetings for the public to give their ideas and also one for faith based organizations and one for young people to give their input. The task force hasn't decided on a time and place for the public meetings yet.

The task force will start forming recommendations in October and have a final report in December.

The Marion County Justice Agency tells us the all-time homicide record in the city was set in 1998 when 162 homicides were reported.

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