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Indianapolis brass take aim at reversing gun violence

Leading the effort are 50 peacemakers trained to identify and work with residents who are at risk of either committing violence or becoming a victim of it.

INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and IMPD's top brass said Monday their number one priority is reversing the city's spike in gun violence that’s occurred over the past two years.    

To accomplish that, they're pledging what they called "an unprecedented investment" in grassroots crime prevention and more resources for police. Leading the effort are 50 peacemakers trained to identify and work with residents who are at risk of either committing violence or becoming a victim of it.

The idea is to put at-risk individuals on a better path, one that doesn’t choose violence as the answer. 

"Choosing the other path, the path of violence, victimizing neighbors and neighborhoods comes with serious consequences," Hogsett said. 

The peacemakers are part of a three-year, $150 million safety plan announced this past summer. 

The plan allows for funding for 100 more police officers and more civilian staff to be hired, along with enhanced technology to fight crime like the 10 new license plate readers installed downtown in the past month.  

RELATED: IMPD plans to focus on violent criminals, guns and recruiting in 2022

Cameras have also been updated, with more also being installed in areas experiencing the most gun violence and traffic fatalities. Right now, cameras give police 220 different views across the city. 

Community engagement is also a key part of the plan.   

Nine teams made up of mental health clinicians and officers are on the streets to help with those who may be in crisis, like some of the people experiencing homelessness. 

IMPD said it's also engaging more with the community, with officers doing 31,000 foot patrols from April to December of last year. 

Each district is also holding town halls with citizens. The first one is happening next week in IMPD's Southeast District. 

"That's important for us to get out and engage our neighbors where they are, have conversations, learn about what’s going on in the neighborhood and direct our efforts to make them safe and make them feel safe in their home," said IMPD Assistant Chief Christopher Bailey. 

RELATED: 35 'peacemakers' hitting streets of Indianapolis beginning Monday

Part of that, said IMPD Chief Randal Taylor, will happen through citizens and police working together. 

"If we have any success, it's not just going to be the IMPD, but that partnership we have with the community appears to be paying off," Taylor said, explaining that's already happening with people coming forward about violent and deadly crimes, allowing IMPD to make arrests. 

State lawmakers taking action

The rising crime across Indianapolis also captured the attention of state lawmakers.

Right now, there is a package of crime bills making its way through the Senate. 

Among the issues up for consideration is reforming the current bail bond system and electronic monitoring for suspects out of jail awaiting trial. Two other bills would create a violent crime reduction board in Marion County and establish a crime reduction pilot program.

Click here to follow the bills on the General Assembly website. The bills mentioned above are Senate Bills 6-10.