IMPD chief believes witness assistance program could help solve many unsolved crimes

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Dec. 16 2015) -- Breaking the code of silence that keeps many crimes unsolved is the goal of outgoing Indianapolis police chief Rick Hite.

Before he steps away from the job, chief Hite says the city needs to do more to protect witnesses of violent crimes.

Hite says investing money into a witness assistance program would help solve a lot of the city's unsolved crimes.

Right now this year, there are more than 60 murders in Indianapolis that remain unsolved, because in many cases witnesses are simply not willing to speak up.

“Those who are victimized or witness violent crimes need to know people have their best interests in mind if they come forward and share information,” said Hite.

The chief didn`t give specific numbers, but says the city should invest money into a witness assistance program.

That would require working with the prosecutor’s office and others in the community to protect people who can help solve crimes.

“We can’t give up on those in the community who care and live next door to a problem and then have to worry about being attacked,” said Hite.

Just this month Reverend Charles Harrison joined other community leaders and victim`s families launching the “Let’s Talk” campaign encouraging people to share information with police.

“The campaign won`t be successful if people don`t feel if they come forward they`ll be safe, so we need to make an investment,” said Harrison.

Harrison fully agrees with the chief, the city needs to spend more resources to safeguard witnesses to crimes.

“I think the city has to do more. People won`t come forward if they don`t feel a sense of being protected,” said Harrison.

“We as a community have wrap our arms around those who share information,” said Hite. “ If someone steps up and does the right thing, we as community should offer assistance for that.”

Because chief Hite is stepping down at the end of the year, he knows there may not be enough time to make the changes on his watch.

He hopes the next administration takes the issue serious as well.

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