Unique Partnership Aimed At Curbing Youth Crime

Outreach Workers Will Help Violent Crime Victims, Families

A first-of-its-kind partnership between the city, police and community organizations will focus on keeping kids from falling into a life of crime in Indianapolis' toughest neighborhoods.

Mayor Greg Ballard today launched the Youth Violence Reduction Team, a joint effort between Indianapolis police, Wishard Health Services' Prescription for Hope program, the clergy-led Ten Point Coalition, the Peace Learning Center and the juvenile justice system.

"(The initiative) builds on Prescription for Hope's successful model to reduce youth homicides, violence-related injuries, repeat criminal activity and arrests," Ballard said. "The team will utilize established violence and crime prevention programs and real-time crime data to build neighborhood-level partnerships that will create safer environments for our youth."

The effort will target at-risk youth in four crime hot spots across the city, 6News' Stacia Matthews reported.

Young people from those neighborhoods who end up at Wishard Memorial Hospital with gunshot or stab wounds will be targeted by YVRT outreach workers who will help the individual, their family and neighbors work to break the cycle of violence.

Since the Prescription for Hope program's inception in 2009, 185 patients and family members have taken part.

Rev. Charles Harrison with Ten Point Coalition said the program is important for the future of Indy's youth.

"Our job is to try to pull young people out of criminal activity and put them intoprograms that will help them become productive citizens," Harrison said.

Only one of the participants has been readmitted for a violent injury, and no family member has experienced a first-time violent injury, as compared to a 31 percent trauma patient readmittance rate prior to the start of the program.

"Since its inception, Prescription for Hope has focused on reducing repeat violent personal injury and criminal activity by helping patients and their families make life-changing and life-saving choices," said City-County Councilor Benjamin Hunter, chairman of the Public Safety Committee. "This multi-disciplinary collaboration will expand Prescription for Hope's model and direct important resources to our youth."

"At the end of the day there are individual lives impacted. And if we can do more to make sure fewer people are victims of crimes, people stay away from violent activity surrounding crime, that's what we're trying to do," Ballard said.