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INDIANAPOLIS — An effort to keep kids safe and out of trouble in the summer kicks off Monday. 

This is the fourth year for the Safe Summer program. It provides productive and free activities for young people.

The program offers a fun and safe option for teens this summer– an effort city leaders hope will help stop the rise in violence among Indiana youth. 

While overall homicides have come down significantly this year compared to last, homicides involving juvenile victims have actually increased in Indianapolis. So far this year, there have been 7 homicides involving a victim under the age of 18 in Indianapolis. 

That’s one of the many reasons why city leaders are once again hosting the Safe Summer program. It offers free food and activities for youth ages 13 and up now through August 6th.

One of the organizations involved is Pacers Sports and Entertainment.

“For us to be able to partner with the mayor and with this office is just a phenomenal opportunity for us,” said Danny Lopez, vice president for Corporate Communications and External Affairs for Pacers Sports and Entertainment. “We happen to think that basketball, especially in Indiana, is something that brings people together and can help kids in particular grow unlike anything else. So, that’s where we come in for a partnership like this.”

Other organizations like New B.O.Y. and the IUPUI Men’s Basketball team are getting involved to host activities for the teens!

The Safe Summer kickoff will take place Monday morning at Washington Park.

Mayor Joe Hogsett was supposed to be in attendance at the meeting but tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday.

The Safe Summer program will take place weekly at Indy Parks facilities on Friday nights from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.  

The Office of Public Health and Safety is looking for additional partners to donate their time and resources to this effort. To learn more, click here.