INDIANAPOLIS — In merely two months, IMPD’s violence reduction teams (VRT) and violent crimes task forces (VCTF) have removed 205 illegal guns from the streets of Indianapolis. Hopefully, this prevents more people from dying as the city endures its second year of record-breaking homicides.
Each IMPD district has a VRT and VCTF. The teams focus on specific hotspots, identified through data, instead of whole neighborhoods and zip codes.
Our city’s lost at least 114 people to homicides so far this year. Police have made an arrest in at least 34 of those cases.
“You have purpose,” Public Information Officer Samone Burris said. “You. have. purpose. Your family needs you; your children need you. Your husbands, your wives, they need you. They don’t need you to be arrested, they don’t need you to be dead.”
VRT and VCTF just launched in April. In April and May, IMPD seized 205 guns across all districts and made 527 arrests.
“As we focus specifically on these people that we know are involved in violence, I think it makes the seizure of these guns that much more significant because a lot of times we know we’re getting guns from those people who are involved in violence,” Dep. Chief Craig McCartt said.
This week, Mayor Joe Hogsett’s administration is asking city-county councilors for $1.5 million this week. Much of that money will help with data collection and analysis, again targeting those most likely to commit violence.
“We used to identify zip codes and then we got smaller than that and we identified beats and then we identified some blocks,” McCartt explained. “As we looked closer, we would identify really just a very small location, you might call them micro hot spots.”
Better data means police can focus on an area so small it may only encompass a few houses or section of the block, not the whole neighborhood.
“There would be numbers that would be so great that it could make that beat look like the beat itself had an inordinate amount of violence and it was really just this street, this block,” McCartt explained.
These new teams are modeled after the Crime Gun Intelligence Center which focuses on the most violent people and places across Indianapolis, not just each specific district. They have removed 118 guns so far this year. They removed 288 in total in 2020.