INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Mayor Joe Hogsett, Josh Minkler, the US Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana, IMPD Chief Bryan Roach and other members of the city and police department walked along the sidewalks and into apartments at the Ashford at Meridian Hills. It was their way of building relationships with the people there.
"I feel like it's important for everyone, especially higher officials to know everyone that's living in the city," Cortnee Carson said after talking with the mayor and chief.
This gathering was a part of the monthly public safety walks, but Chief Roach said it was important for them to talk to this community now.
"The reason we picked this area, there's been a lot of shots fired runs," the chief explained. "So we're here today, and we're going to be handing out gun locks to those families who may have kids and have guns in the house."
Minkler said the gun locks and sharing informational cards with those who live in the apartments will hopefully stop future crimes.
"My goal, obviously, is to prosecute fewer cases in federal court so felons who are prohibited from picking up guns, don't pick up guns," Minkler said. "So people that are felons and prohibited from picking up guns, don't pick up guns. So, a lot of the literature that I'll be passing out is information. Here are the consequences if you're a prohibited person for picking up a gun, here are the consequences if you do a straw purchase."
Back in April, following a violent weekend in which seven people were shot to death in Marion County, Mayor Hogsett introduced IMPD's Crime Gun Intelligence Center. Its goal is to stop serial shooters.
At last report, IMPD counted at least 113 non-fatal shooting victims in 2019. Although no one died in these incidents, it's still a violent crime. The department said often times, the shell casings left behind and taken in for evidence show shell casings that belong to a gun used in at least two crimes.
"That might impact evidence that might help us solve a non-fatal shooting or a homicide," Roach said.
Chief Roach said the serial shooters must be dealt with before their actions turn deadly.
"Those that are not allowing folks to come out on their porch and have a good time or kids walk to the bus, those are the types of people we want to impact. And, looking at shots fired and non-fatal shootings and homicides together, and those guns and that evidence, allows us to identify those people that are involved in multiple cases."
Thus far in 2019, Chief Roach said there are 42 homicide victims. That's nine less than this time last year.
"I'm encouraged by the numbers, but we're not letting our foot up off the accelerator because it takes one bad 24 hour period or one bad weekend to raise the numbers again," Hogsett said.
Minkler said last year his office successfully prosecuted over 200 gun cases in federal court. He said federal agents traced more than 8,000 guns used in crimes in Indiana, with half of the cases starting in Marion County.
At last check, the CGIC investigations have led to at least 38 arrests and the removal of 28 guns off the streets in Indianapolis since it opened in January.