180 suspects prosecuted in federal court as part of Safe Neighborhoods Program

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Keeping the streets of Indianapolis safe is the goal behind a federal program getting a renewed life in 2019.

On Wednesday, United States Attorney Josh Minkler announced the launch of Project Safe Neighborhoods 2.0.

Prosecutors say the Safe Neighborhoods Program introduced earlier this year has yielded strong results so far.

Over the last year, Project Safe Neighborhood has landed 180 cases in federal court.

One of those cases involves a man named Korrtel Filzen.

According to court records, Filzen robbed eight auto parts businesses in late 2017. Prosecutors charged Filzen with the crimes in federal court.

“The Department of Justice realizes there is a violent crime problem and gun violence problem here in the city of Indianapolis and we need to respond to that challenge,” said Josh Minkler.  “We’ve charged a lot of people and prosecuted a lot of people with guns.  A lot more guns taken off the streets.  A lot more drugs have been taken off the street.”

Projects Safe Neighborhoods has also doled out more than a million dollars in grant money to the IMPD to establish a crime gun intelligence center and the Marion County Prosecutors Office to help with a national ballistics information network.

“It’s not just enforcement.  We have to do prevention and that’s what the grant program does,” said Minkler.

With two deadly shootings on Monday night, one of which included the death of 16-year-old Juwan Smith, Indianapolis has now seen 123 murders and 134 homicides this year.

Both numbers are higher than what the city saw in 2017, when there were 111 murders and 130 homicides through the same date.

Still, prosecutors believe Project Safe Neighborhoods will eventually bring those numbers down.

“The additional resources and additional prosecution in federal court will reduce gun crime in Indianapolis,” said Minkler.

Project Safe Neighborhoods also recently funded nearly $1.5 million to the mayor’s office and the Boner Community Center to pay for crime reduction programs.