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Police: ‘YOLO’ culture contributing to youth violence in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.- The Marion County Health Department released new information this week that the leading cause of death of people between the ages of 10 and 25 in Indianapolis are criminal homicides.

This news come as police say they are having to adapt the way they fight crime to deal with a new culture and mindset they are seeing become more prevalent among young criminals.

“It’s this adage and I’ve heard it before, the YOLO life,” IMPD Sgt. Christopher Wilburn said. “It’s this mentality that 'You Only Live Once.' So that’s the mentality that some of our youth are being encouraged to participate in and it sounds unorthodox and it sounds strange to us as adults, but this is the kind of conversation kids are having with each other.”

IMPD Police Chief Bryan Roach called the new mindset, “disturbing,” and said it’s something his officers are learning how to combat.

“The violence is a little different than it was in the past, there doesn’t seem to be a code,” Chief Roach said.

So far in 2017, 60 people under the age of 25 have died in Indianapolis as a result of a homicide, compared to 69 in 2016 and 63 in 2015.

One of the most disturbing cases happened north side at the Somerset Lake Apartments. Three Indianapolis men, two who were 25 years old and one who was just 19, were shot and killed. Five teenagers are now charged in that murder, with the youngest being 15.

“You’ve got a triple homicide occurring at the hands of youth so it really is a different mindset,” Roach said. “I don’t’ know if we as a police department understand it yet, but one of the things we do know is they converse actively on social media.”

Roach added he plans to have his officers utilize social media more in 2018 to prevent potential problems and better understand the mindset of young criminals.

He also hopes the new community councils he and the mayor announced yesterday will also contribute to a reduction of youth violence.