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City of Indianapolis announces new Chief Violence Prevention Officer in hopes of halting youth violence

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Posted at 5:56 PM, Jun 05, 2024

INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis city leaders announced a new Chief Youth Violence Prevention Coordinator aimed at keeping our youth safe.

“The goal is to be that representation for them, give them the information that they need and understand the danger behind guns and that consequences are real,” Ralph Durrett Jr. said.

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Durrett Jr. is the City’s new Chief Violence Prevention Officer.

“Boots on the ground, engaging as much as I possibly can is the model,” Durrett Jr. told WRTV.

WRTV numbers show that 26 kids under the age of 18 were killed in 2023, most of them by gun violence.

RELATED COVERAGE | Indianapolis looks to tackle youth violence problem

Indianapolis looks to tackle youth violence problem

“I’m going to meet as many people as I need to meet, whether it’s youth or the parents,” Durrett Jr. said.

For parents like Shannika Davis, she knows how gun violence can impact a family.

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“For the past year, I’ve done nothing but ask the question of why,” Davis said.

Police say her 15-year-old son, Derrick Houston Jr.,was shot and killed near 38th Street and Post Road while waiting for his bus stop in April 2023.

“For the last year, all I could do was look at him and say, 'What happened,'” Davis told WRTV.

The new position is something Davis hopes will make a difference so another mother out there won't be asking why like how she is.

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“What can you do for our brothers, sisters, aunties and uncles to help us not have to put up another funeral on a website,” Davis said.

While city leaders are concerned about the rising trend youth violence, WRTV numbers show that only two kids 18 and under have been homicide victims this year.