As Homicide Total Mounts, Indianapolis Leaders Seek Ways To Tamp Violence

Homicides in Indianapolis are increasing at an alarming rate, says the Associated Press, putting the city on pace to have its deadliest year in at least eight years. Already ranked 22nd on the FBI’s list of deadliest cities, the city could move up and rival its 162 killings in 1998, the worst year on record, if the hot summer months accelerate the violence as expected. Leaders desperate to stop the bloodshed are struggling to find a solution.

Mayor Greg Ballard has met with gang leaders and proposed about $29 million a year in tax increases to add nearly 300 officers to the police force by 2018. Police have beefed up street patrols, hosted neighborhood meetings and expanded the presence of McGruff the Crime Dog in classrooms to reach kids before they drift into deep trouble. Members of the Ten Point Coalition, a faith-based group of ministers and community leaders, have targeted two of the most troubled ZIP codes with regular visits in hopes of steering young people down a better path. The numbers keep climbing. Public-safety officials say roots of the city’s violence run back through decades of poverty and broken homes and that the problem is too big for police to handle alone.

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