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City leaders, community hopeful Indy can do better as homicides reach all-time high

Indianapolis has recorded more homicides this year than ever before. But, the city hasn't given up hope. People like Robert Booker are working to turn things around.

INDIANAPOLIS — A deadly shooting Saturday morning in Indianapolis broke the city's all-time homicide record. It was the 246th person to be killed so far in 2021.

The shooting happened on South Harlan Street. Officers found a man shot in a car. With this death, Indianapolis broke its homicide record. But the city hasn't given up hope. Neighbors believe the community can do better.

Robert Booker was born and raised in Indianapolis. He said the record-breaking murder numbers demonstrate how much his community has changed. 

"It's really devasting, we have to keep losing people, especially our young people," said Booker.

He believes a decrease in opportunities is partly to blame.

"We had so much to do out here. There were so many opportunities out here. For me, they pretty much dropped the ball on the community," said Booker.

Booker said he has personally been impacted by gun violence. He wishes people doing the shootings would understand how the aftermath affects others in the community.

"I think they said for every person you kill, you hurt 200 people," said Booker.

That's what inspired him to start a grassroots program called Reaching Our Brothers. It focuses on strengthening relationships in the community to help decrease crime in the neighborhood.

"We need to address mental health and trauma issues and have some uncomfortable conversations, not only with our youth but with the adults. It starts with the older generation to help the younger generation," said Booker.

RELATED: Faith leaders unveil campaign to curb record-breaking violence in Indy

Having those tough conversations is something Major Joe Hogsett agrees with. He said the city plans to add numerous new police officers and expand the civilian police force. They also plan to dedicate $15 million over three years, to focus on crime intervention and prevention.

But he said the real change must start at home.

"IMPD alone cannot resolve the gun violence. The fact is, there are too many young people in our community who have no legal right to possess weapons but have them," said Hogsett.

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