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Indianapolis partners with national experts to curb gun violence

Starting in January, the city will go from ten people on the street to 50. They're referred to as peacemakers, interrupters, outreach workers and life coaches.

INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett is bringing in national experts to decrease the violence. 

His announcement Wednesday follows an alarming uptick in fatal shootings this year, including a triple homicide Tuesday night. 

The Marion County Coroner's office identified two of the victims as 22-year-old Michael James and 18-year-old Joseph Thomas. Their deaths marked 215 homicides for IMPD.

RELATED: IMPD: Missing 18-year-old was 1 of 3 found dead on Indy's south side

Hogsett announced the gun violence reduction program with the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform to crack down on gun violence. 

Executive Director David Muhammad summed it up in four steps: Identifying who is at highest risk using data, directly and respectfully communicating to that person, providing intense support and opportunities and focused enforcement for IMPD. 

RELATED: Hogsett introduces budget aimed at curbing violent crime in Indianapolis

The team has analyzed the gun violence in Indianapolis. 

"400 people that we are particularly concerned that if there's not intervention, they're either going to be a victim or a suspect in a shooting. 400 is not small, but it's an extremely small percentage of the 860,000 people in Indianapolis," Muhammad said. 

Starting in January, the city will go from ten people on the street to 50. They're referred to as peacemakers, interrupters, outreach workers and life coaches.

"There's a lot of capacity to serve. It just needs to be well-coordinated and focused on the right people. Gun violence is tightly concentrated on a small number of individuals who have several high-risk factors. Those individuals are engaged in gun violence and they are identifiable; the violence is predictable and therefore, it is preventable," Muhammad said. 

This $150 million effort is paid for by the federal American Rescue Plan.

Muhammad and his team have worked in several other big cities like Memphis and Oakland. 

The program was implemented in Oakland at the end of 2012. The city saw a substantial, sustained decline in homicides over six consecutive years ahead of the pandemic. 

"The city of Oakland had a 38% year-to-date reduction in homicides. It would have been the lowest homicide rate in the city's history," Muhammad said.

The commander of the gun violence unit in Oakland is helping the team in Indianapolis, teaching them what they did well and could have approved on in Oakland so Indianapolis doesn't make the same mistakes. 

The deputy director of the office of public health and safety will be managing this strategy full-time. They are looking to hire someone.

The three-year process begins in January. Muhammad said Indianapolis should begin to see impacts six months into the new year, with a significant reduction in gun violence in 2023.