Local group hopes to ‘Stand Together For A Safer Indianapolis’ after rise in violent crime

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INDIANAPOLIS — After a disturbing trend of violent crime in the city, a local group is calling on the community to make a difference.

Stand Together For A Safer Indianapolis is made up of people from different groups and organizations. Brought together by Steward Speakers, a speaker and lecture series dedicated to promoting conversations about critical issues, organizers plan to launch a city-wide campaign as early as July 1.

The campaign includes a host of media elements, like public service announcements, flyers and graphics, throughout Indianapolis to reach all communities and demographics. The media portion, led by FrontRunner Media, is only one element of the two part approach.

Organizers hope to use a combination of marketing and outreach. The goal is to not only show the impact of gun violence and other crime, but to reach those who are doing it through resources and support targeting contributing factors, like homelessness, unemployment and mental health.

“A lot of people don’t understand that it impacts all of us here in Indianapolis, whether or not someone in your particular family, or friend of yours, has been impacted by gun violence,” said Matthew Steward, president of Steward Speakers and part of Stand Together For A Safer Indianapolis.

“If you live outside Indianapolis, and you come into Indianapolis for work, that’s going to be a concern of yours.” He added, “If you’re a visitor coming to a convention here, and you’re in downtown Indianapolis, and shots ring out into your hotel room, that’s an issue. That’s a concern.”

With the holiday weekend just days away, organizers set a launch date close to July 4th as the city anticipates more activity.

Along with Steward Speakers and Gary Naylor’s FrontRunner Media, Stand Together For A Safer Indianapolis is calling on the help of other community groups, churches, fraternities, sororities and others who want to get involved.

“Without the community engagement, we will never, never move the needle,” said Naylor, “So that’s why this campaign has to be all encompassing. We’re inviting organizations, who actually see this, to reach out to us and become a part of what we’re doing.”

“If we are to be successful, it will take a grassroot effort that no one organization, no one individual, the police department cannot solve what is going on,” said Steward. “If they could, they would’ve done it already. No police agency in any city. So we are looking to community folk.”

Already operating with the support of several agencies, like Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Health and Hospital Corporation, and the Public Safety Foundation, organizers are hopeful to be fully funded by the six month timeline.

Depending on the program’s success, leaders plan to reevaluate and continue efforts. In the meantime, they’ll be launching a variety of outlets, like a speaker panel and other events, in the coming months.

“They say ‘building the plane as you fly it’,” said Naylor, “So we’re kind of building it as it goes, and figuring out those things that are going to stick, and that are going to be effective and repeat those things until we make some impact on this gun violence and things that are happening within our community.”

If you, or your organization, are interested in getting involved, contact Matthew Steward at matthew.steward@indy.gov.

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