This chapter describes a multiagency problem solving strategy used in Indianapolis to counter gang-related drug offenses and violence.
When it became clear to policymakers that 1997 was going to be a record year for homicides in Indianapolis, both the mayor and the U.S. Attorney's Office suggested that local criminal justice officials examine the Boston Gun Project as a potential model for addressing homicide and firearms violence in the city. The Boston Gun Project emerged from the problem solving processes of research and analysis, strategy design, implementation, and assessment by a multiagency working group of Boston officials and researchers. The strategy that emerged from the analysis became known as Operation Ceasefire, which consisted of cracking down on illicit gun trafficking, the establishment of new norms for gang members, and a multiagency focused response to violent crimes. In Indianapolis, a December 1997 meeting of criminal justice and city officials resulted in the formation of the Indianapolis Violence Reduction Partnership (IVRP). The IVRP's first action was to form a working group of criminal justice officials that included representatives from Federal, State, and city agencies. The working group engaged in systematic problem solving that included an analysis of homicide incidents and the development of initial interventions. The interventions targeted young men with extensive criminal records, the use of firearms in violent crime, and areas with high levels of violent crime. Interventions included increased arrests and prosecutions of the most serious and chronic violent offenders; warning high-risk offenders about the sanctions for violence while directing them toward legitimate services and opportunities; the development of alternative legitimate opportunities to counter drug-related and violent behavior; gang suppression; and increased police presence and community involvement in high-crime neighborhoods. Interventions were implemented at different periods, and dosage levels have varied across time. The assessment of the interventions includes multiple measure of both process and impact. The IVRP is an ongoing initiative, and the research and evaluation is continuing. Much of this chapter presents an assessment of the impact of a targeted gang intervention that was coupled with the intensification of law enforcement efforts directed at drug offenses and violent crime. The intervention included a major investigation of a well-known gang that resulted in multiple arrests and Federal prosecution. The crackdown was followed by meetings with other gangs and group members, during which the message was sent that law enforcement was targeting violent gangs. The intervention was implemented in the spring of 1999. 1 figure, 7 tables, 4 notes, and 21 references
Date Published: January 1, 2003