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Community leaders and city officials work to curb Indianapolis violence after 100th homicide of 2020

Posted at 6:59 AM, Jun 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-18 07:26:40-04

INDIANAPOLIS — In the early morning hours of Thursday, June 18, the city saw it's 100th homicide in less than six months. Now, community leaders are speaking up about their concerns of violence in Indianapolis and want to see the mayor and other elected officials take action.

Reverend Doctor Charles Harrison said as a city we are bleeding, and we need to take action now. He said we can no longer wait for someone else to do something.

"It's not just a Black problem this is an Indianapolis problem and all of us who care about the sanctity of human life ought to be engaged in this conversation and discussion as to how we can address this problem that plagues our city," said Reverend Harrison.

Reverend Harrison's always been vocal with his concerns about violence in the Circle City. On Wednesday, he took to Twitter after two people were killed and five others were shot in just a few hours. His tweet said, "Indy is in a public safety crisis;" and going on to say in another tweet: "Indy the tragic reality is we may be at 100 homicides by the end of this week. I am not happy because over 70% of the homicide victims are (Black) and there doesn't not seem to be an urgency of the moment."

"To me, there seems to be a devaluation. Devaluing of Black lives. If we are going, which we rightly should be concerned about police brutality and police misconduct that is claiming the lives of Blacks, we also have to be very concerned what we are seeing in these neighborhoods when we are seeing an escalation of violence among young Blacks," said Rev. Harrison.

The total homicide number in Indianapolis as of June 18 is 100 — a number we didn't see last year until September. He is calling on the mayor and other city officials to take action.

"I know the mayor is very concerned. Chief of police myself, we are very concerned the community is very concerned," Shonna Majors, the city's director of Community Violence Reduction, said.

Majors said now that COVID-19 restrictions are starting to be lifted her and her team can safely get back out into the community.

"We have definitely been hampered in some ways by the covid-19 pandemic," said Majors.

Starting next week they will kick off some of their programs, they have an event next Friday (June 26) at Martin University and a panel on domestic violence resources next Saturday (June 27).

Majors told me they are also kicking off their Safe Summer Saturdays a little earlier than usual.

"Which means we get out into the community on Saturday nights downtown in various spots around the city that are considered high traffic areas for our youth and try to engage them, get them involved in mentoring programs," said Majors.

Both Harrison and Majors believe the more people that are involved in this fight against violence in the Circle City, the easier the battle will be. Click here for resources and groups.

Majors said they are taking applications right now for new community organizations to work with their Community Violence Reduction team; those applications can be sent in until June 30.