Public safety director: Violence an emergency

INDIANAPOLIS - The city’s director of public safety said the wave of violence in Indianapolis may soon become an emergency.

Troy Riggs said if crime isn’t an emergency in the city now, it is awfully close to being one. He said he was especially concerned looking at next year and five or ten years down the road.

Riggs said one critical way to stop the violence is comprehensive action on the young people of Indianapolis. He said the department is seeing a growing number of younger suspects carrying a weapon and getting involved in violence.

Riggs and Mayor Greg Ballard have testified at the Statehouse for 20-year mandatory minimum sentences for people who commit a felony while using a gun.

Riggs pointed to two murders in 2014 that he says would not have happened if the sentences were in place.

He said that is only one major step in curbing crime and the community needs to find more ways to help young people.

"We're seeing a lot more younger suspects who are getting involved in violence. We're hearing from the pastors on the streets that are saying younger and younger people are carrying weapons. They say they used to talk to individuals being people of the cloth and they had a respect for them -- they're saying that they don't even have respect from a significant number of young people today," Riggs said.

Riggs says the community needs to try to get young people help. Otherwise, he said the city's future will grow increasingly difficult.

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