INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Crime Gun Intelligence Center collects data and studies all shootings in Indy. They estimate roughly half of all homicides and non-fatal shootings are linked back to loosely-connected gangs and groups.
“We don’t really see like the old like you would get jumped into a gang kind of thing,” Capt. Michael Bruin said. “We don’t see that kind of structure anymore. There’s not even quite the allegiance to one group.”
Bruin said many of the groups they notice ‘literally call themselves entertainment groups’ or those who race cars and have car clubs.
“For whatever reason, we’ll get shots fired in that as well,” Bruin explained. “That’s a pretty recent trend, and that we’ve seen in some of the outlying counties as well, that they move around, each weekend they’re somewhere different.”
Bruin believes if you’re not involved “in that lifestyle,” the threat is minimal.
“But it’s what you mentioned earlier, it’s the getting caught at the wrong place at the wrong time is what threatens the average person,” Bruin said.
Bruin said he is not aware of any current recruitment of these groups. But, he added they do not claim geographical areas like gangs used to.
“We don’t have gangs just controlling chunks of real estate in our city,” Bruin explained. “There’s no neighborhoods where ‘hey, if you roll down that street in this neighborhood, you’re going to confront these gang members that lay claim to this street.'”
As CGIC monitors shooting incidents, IMPD’s Community Engagement and Outreach Bureau is nearing the end of their GREAT Program, which stands for Gang Resistance Education and Training for the summer.
“We do a class every day to like learn how to resist, anger management,” Participant Allen Sembly said.
Sembly and dozens of other kids and teens team up with IMPD officers to learn strategies to stay away from gangs, as well as make positive life choices. IMPD Commander Ida Williams and her team recognize people with negative intentions can make an impression on young people.
So, they want to build kids up through the GREAT Program.
“I think kids are looking for a place to belong,” Williams said. “They’re looking for something to do, they’re looking for activities. So again, the Bible tells us what, ‘an idle mind is a devil’s workshop.’ So, we know that when kids don’t have anything to get involved in, they’ll start leaning toward some of those negative behaviors.”