Police program aims to combat summer youth violence

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- Thus far in 2017, homicides have taken the lives of 66 people in Indianapolis.

Eleven of them have been teenagers and the most recent were two young men shot to death last week while committing home invasion robberies.

Mayor Joe Hogsett, IMPD, Indiana Black Expo and their community partners will launch the “YOUth Are The Solution” project this weekend to engagement young people in the search for answers to Indianapolis youth violence.

“On June 17 we’re going to culminate two morning teen discussions with a teen gathering at Pan Am Plaza,” said Deputy Mayor David Hampton. “The Pan Am Plaza gathering will be held from 7-10 p.m. We are asking that all parents please be sure to get all that information and bring your teens.”

Teen-led community discussions will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at Martin University on the east side and Flanner House on the west side.

“Often as adults we think we know what teens want but the best source for that information is the teens themselves,” said Hampton. “Our teens engage at the mall and downtown at the canal and while we seek to ensure that they are safe in those spaces we’ve created a space just for them so our message to the teens is, ‘This is just for you.’”

IBE is launching a public service campaign called, “I am your brother/I am your sister” to reach out to young people without strong family connections who may not know where to turn when confronted by violence.

IMPD’s PAL Club will hold football and cheerleading camps in July while district officers are convening community councils to listen to neighborhood concerns and develop strategies for solutions.

“These district councils that will be serving throughout the IMPD districts I think will be fundamentally important in a two-way conversation about what the community needs from IMPD and then what IMPD can provide in return,” said Hogsett.

The program is in need of male adult volunteers, specifically to attend Saturday night’s gathering downtown, and for other events scheduled later this summer.