INDIANAPOLIS — Tom Knoch stood outside a Fountain Square church food pantry and ruminated on the question of whether he feels safer lately in Indianapolis.

”I live off Washington Street and there’s a lot of crime over there,” he said. ”Most of the time when I’m at home I can’t go outside. I have to put up with all the drunks and the drug heads standing out there and a lot of them get smart with me.”

Ben Terry was more sanguine about the perception of Indianapolis crime.

”There’s trouble wherever you go,” he said. ”It all depends on the people, basically, because you could live in Geist and something crazy could happen, you know.”

Despite the popular public image of crime in Indianapolis, “something crazy” and violent is happening, statistically, less this year than last.

”Today, Indianapolis is seeing reductions in gun violence that we have not seen in over a decade,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett, flanked by his public safety and police leadership and national consultant at a briefing to update the City’s first ten months of its Gun Violence Reduction Strategy.

Homicides are down 18%, non-fatal shootings are off 11% and aggravated assaults have slumped 16% compared with 2021’s record violence pace.

David Muhammad, Executive Director of the National Institute for Criminal Justice Reform, said across the country violent crime is off an average of three percent.

”We have seen somewhat similar reductions. Indianapolis, I think, is enjoying a greater one,” he said. “We have a specific goal of at least a ten percent reduction from the previous year. We’re above that goal in both murders and non-fatal shootings.”

Hogsett and IMPD credit the drop to tens of millions of dollars in federal aid that have paid for beefed up community anti-violence programs, violence interrupters who circulate through neighborhoods and crime scenes to reduce the threat of retaliation, enhanced law enforcement technology and targeted investigations that seek out trigger pullers and others most likely to commit violent crimes.

The 50 violence interrupters hired by the City and its partners this year claim they have been involved in 393 interruptions, made 451 referrals for services and placed 67 fellows with life coaches with a goal of convincing victims of violent crime to not retaliate and let law enforcement pursue their attackers.

The mayor’s briefing happened hours after a woman died during a domestic violence shooting on the city’s eastside.

”Unfortunately we talk about this morning’s homicide but we had such a partnership with the Office of Public Health and Safety and the domestic violence champions that they were able to come out and defuse what could have become a retaliatory scene because obviously the suspect was still there,” said IMPD Deputy Chief Kendale Adams.

Mayor Hogsett said that despite the expiration of federal recovery act funding, the City County Council has committed to the financial support of the community anti-violence grants through 2024 to continue the momentum of this year’s violent crime downturn.