INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Ronald Hockett spent his Tuesday afternoon fixing the steps in his front yard. He’s lived near 34th Street and Illinois Street for more than 30 years. It’s where he and his wife raised their two boys.
“It’s a decent place to live. If I didn’t feel like that, I would be gone. I would have moved out,” said Hockett.
Over the past year, the Department of Public Safety has focused on six of the city’s most challenged neighborhoods. Including in that number is Hockett’s neighborhood.
According to year-to-date numbers there were 22 murders in 2014 in those six areas, so far this year there were 24 murders.
Police Chief Rick Hite adds that most of the victims and the suspects were known to each other. Either they had previous relationships, or similar criminal backgrounds.
“We can’t think we are going to help these communities by pushing down crime. We have to push up the quality of life,” said Department of Public Safety Director David Wantz.
During our interview with Wantz, he expressed that by focusing on those six areas there would be more incidents documented, which would increase crime in those areas.
Over the past couple of years, DPS has released the number of non-fatal shootings in those six areas. In the year-to-date numbers for 2014, there were 63 non–fatal shootings. So far this year there have been 89 non-fatal shootings.
According to former Public Safety Director Troy Riggs, the difference between a deadly shooting and a non-fatal shooting is where the bullet lands.
Despite the numbers, DPS is trying a holistic approach to helping those living in those communities by providing wraparound services to help residents in those areas.
Wantz says the department is committed to following the course despite the recent numbers.