INDIANAPOLIS — Now that COVID-19 restrictions have lifted, the Indianapolis Office of Public Health and Safety is hosting in-person community safety meetings focused on those most at risk of committing violence or becoming victims.
The meetings are for a small group of people who are either on probation or serving time with Marion County Community Corrections. Meetings are held bi-monthly and are not open to the public, rather held for ideally five to 10 people who are mandated by their probation officers to be there.
Those in attendance hear from police, local and federal prosecutors, community organizations, victims’ parents and a person who has possibly served time and committed violent acts in the past.
Daniel Mallory is currently a family success coach at the Edna Martin Christian Center, but his life has not always looked this way.
“I do have an extensive criminal history,” Mallory said.
Mallory has 24 more days left on house arrest. He is proud to serve alongside OPHS for these community meetings, and he hopes his advice will make a difference in someone’s life.
“I watched my kids grow up through pictures,” Mallory said. “I watched my daughter grow up through pictures. That’s not a life. You miss everything. You’ll never get that time back.”
At least 114 people have been killed in Indy so far this year. Mallory hopes resources like these meetings will change someone’s mindset.
“Real men stay home and take care of their families because our kids are growing up without fathers,” Mallory said. “You know? And, they’re growing up without mothers too because now women are getting caught in the crossfire. Kids are getting caught in the crossfire. It’s senseless.”
Tony Lopez is the gun violence reduction strategy manager for the city’s Violence Reduction Team. He said the meetings primarily focus on those ages 18 to 35, which is the age group he said are mostly involved in violent crime either as perpetrators or victims.
“Individuals that come aren’t always the individuals that are currently causing the gun violence in our city, but they’re individuals that have lived in that space or still live in that space,” Lopez said.
He added that he hopes the meetings create a ripple effect.
“We want them to take all the information they’ve heard from us back to their area, back to their neighborhoods, back to their friends, back to their family members who probably are causing issues in the city and giving them that information,” Lopez explained.
These private meetings are a one-time gathering, but if a person needs connected to further resources, OPHS helps facilitate that. Mallory insists he would have changed his life sooner if he would have realized resources are available.
“Stop putting yourself in a position to have to go lay down for 10, 15, 20 years,” Mallory said. “They’re going to give you that time, and you’ll never get that time back. You know? I’ve seen people grow old in prison. It’s not the life. It’s really not the life.”