City plans summer jobs program to curb crime

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Indianapolis Public Safety Director Troy Riggs says the city is working on a summer jobs program they hope will cut down on crime among young people.

Riggs said the idea came from young people themselves during community conversations about crime.

“We think this is extremely important – especially as you’re seeing younger people involved in more violent crime – younger people being involved in violence, being victims of violence, and when you hear it from the young people themselves – saying they want to have something to do … I think it’s incumbent on all of us in the community to do what we can to make sure they have a safe and productive summer,” said Riggs.

He wouldn’t go into detail about the program because it’s still a work in progress. But Riggs said the program would also include a mentor for each young person both on and off the job site.

“So if they get in trouble in the neighborhood … they’ll lose their job as a result,” said Riggs. “It’s called accountability I think it’s a good thing for young people, it’s something they’re asking for, and I believe for all of us in our community and adults that have means to support that, we need to.”

The goal is also to provide meals for the young people during the day.

“I grew up in a poor area of town and I had a lot of people that assisted me,” said Riggs. “I had a strong nuclear family, a strong basis in faith in our church, we had neighbors that were involved in your life. Some young people tell us they have none of that. And that’s a very sad commentary on today’s America. In a community, though, if we have a child who’s struggling, I think we have a responsibility to try to help that child be successful long term.

Riggs said the city is working with the newly formed non-profit Public Safety Foundation for funding and community partnerships. An official announcement is expected later in May.

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