This study evaluated the effectiveness of the Indianapolis Violence Reduction Partnership in reducing homicide rates in the city.
During the mid-1990’s, the city of Indianapolis experienced record levels of homicide. In response, city officials implemented a violence reduction program modeled after the successful Boston Gun Project. The Indianapolis Violence Reduction Partnership brought together criminal justice and community agencies to launch a multidisciplinary strategy in which multiple agencies respond to homicide incidents and resources are targeted to chronic and high-risk offenders. The program also involves a mandatory notification meeting in which high-risk probationers and parolees are provided with information about victims of homicides as well as information about support services for offenders re-joining the community. Following a description of how the Indianapolis Violence Reduction Partnership was implemented, the authors turn to an examination of the program’s impact on local homicide rates. Crime maps of the geographic distribution of homicides in Indianapolis were developed based on a variety of data sources, including police and court data. Court data were also utilized to assess the prior involvement of victims and suspects in the criminal justice system. Characteristics of homicides before and after program implementation were examined; in general the results indicated a decline in the number of homicides during the study period following the violence reduction intervention. In 1997, prior to the intervention strategy, there were 155 recorded homicides; by 2001, following the implementation of the intervention effort, the number of homicides had dropped to 115. The authors also examined the effectiveness of the mandatory notification meeting for high-risk offenders by analyzing re-arrest data and survey data. Results suggested that although offenders who attended the meeting perceived the criminal justice system as more effective, no significant behavioral differences were noted for offenders who attended the meeting compared with offenders who did not attend the meeting. Thus, although the findings suggest optimism concerning a multidisciplinary approach to violence reduction, future research should continue to evaluate the effectiveness of a communication approach to deterrence. Figures, tables, appendix, notes, references