INDIANAPOLIS - A new approach to battling violent crime in Indianapolis will focus on providing mentors, job opportunities and re-entry services for youth, and counseling for their parents, Mayor Greg Ballard announced Wednesday.
The "Your Life Matters" initiative was designed to specifically combat black-on-black violence in the city, which is "robbing us of an entire generation of young men of color, and it must stop," Ballard said.
"We lose more young men of color to murder than we do to car crashes or disease," Ballard said, citing statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Part of the initiative will include giving $75,000 to the 2-1-1 call center annually, Ballard said, to help provide guidance for parents concerned about their children and connect the children with mentors.
The initiative will also include job training and education programs, with help from EmployIndy and WorkOne, Ballard said.
The city's offender re-entry program will also pair offenders with mentors while they're in jail and for up to 18 months after the offender's release.
"We’re here today to say we care. We want you to go in the right direction," Ballard said, adding that for those who stray from the "right direction," help will be available to get them back on track.
Radio One has begun airing public service announcements directed toward young men of color, said Chuck Williams, vice president of Radio One.
"Our message is simple: Your life matters," Williams said.
The creation of the "Mayor's Your Life Matters Task Force" will continue to work toward solutions to the city's violent crime problem.