Using data to reduce crime in Indy

By Darius Johnson, Fox 59
May 30, 2019
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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Indianapolis mayor Joe Hogsett allocated $100,000 dollars towards a new Gun Violence Intervention Program at Wednesday’s State of the City address.

However, this program is different from others currently operating in Indianapolis.

It uses data collected from different organizations by looking at the most recent shootings, including who’s involved and where they occur, so they can target a smaller group of individuals.

One of the organizations at the forefront is Faith In Action, a national community-based group that fights for justice and pushes toward a more equitable society.

“This data focuses on who’s most likely to be a shooter or get shot. Which is very different from criminal activity,” Juard Barnes, Midwest Regional Director, Faith In Action says.

The goal is to help save lives while reducing the trauma that lingers in our community long after shots are fired, according to Barnes.

“About 85 to 86 percent of people who are shot are potential shooters. So, we can grind that number down, even more, to find a more finite group of people so that way police have less interaction with communities in a negative way and we can actually help people who are able to transform,” Barnes says.

This same program was recently launched in Oakland, California. According to Gifford’s Law Center, Oakland is seeing their lowest crime rate in two decades.

This is something that Edward Ball can appreciate. In 1999 he was shot three times: in his arm, stomach, and neck. But that hasn’t stopped him from trying to create change.

“It’s an innovative step where he’s focusing on help and healing, as opposed to criminalizing gun violence victims and people who are perpetrating the shooting. Giving them that help so they can turn things around is very important,” Ball says.

Instead of jail time for potential offenders, Hogsett calls it a “Roots Recovery Effort” that will educate, not incarcerate. This is something Faith In Action looks forward to.

“We are feeling excited, really energized and looking forward to working with the mayor. While the mayor has given this state of the city, we count this as a win for the community. Because he’s really put some money where his muscle is for communities and families,” Reverend Rhonda Gladden of Faith In Action says.

The city is currently working to partner with a national provider to work with local organizations to get the program started. They hope to have it up and running by the end of summer.

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Faith in Indiana's Ed Ball talks with reporter Darius Johnson of Fox59 about Gun Violence Intervention.