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INDIANAPOLIS–Fighting crime and reducing violence is the goal of the Indianapolis OneCOP initiative. That initiative just received a $1 million grant to help fight crime in the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s Southwest District. 

The grant is from the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington D.C. 

“This will help us work on better technology and start tackling these issues. When we think bigger about the challenges we face, what we can accomplish is unlimited,” says Rick Snyder, President of the Fraternal Order of Police in Indianapolis, in an interview with 93 WIBC’s Hammer and Nigel. 

The southwest district covers about 80.8 square miles and serves almost 137,000 people in the southwest part of the city. The grant is funding OneCOP’s Near West Collaborative Crime Reduction (NWCCR) Project. 

The Near West Collaborative Community consists of several neighborhoods–Hawthorne, Stringtown, We Care, and others.

Partnering with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD), the National Police Foundation, Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police, the OneCOP initiative intends to use data-driven, comprehensive and community-oriented strategies to reduce crime and spur revitalization.  

“People need to know what’s going on in their surroundings,” said the Rev. Markel Hutchins, CEO and national lead organizer of OneCop. “They need to be situationally aware because doing so affords them the opportunity to be engaged on an ongoing basis and crime reduction efforts in their local communities.” 

Which is why they are developing a OneCOP app. The app will be GPS-activated and allow anyone in the community to see police reports and other public safety resources. Police hope church and other civic leaders will use the app to help reduce crime. 

“The houses of worship will be able to see the crime and violence in real time that’s going on around them so that they can outreach appropriately and really address the issues that are specific to the communities,” Hutchins said.  

U.S. attorney for the Indianapolis district, Josh Minkler, discussed some of the problems police face in the neighborhoods. 

“Juveniles with guns, not to be pejorative but these are boys. There are 13, 14, 15-year-olds with guns. Our challenges in these neighborhoods with our girls is now involvement in the commercial sex trade, 13, 14 and 15-year-old girls,” Minkler said. 

People who use the app will also be able to submit crime tips, view informational videos, and get alerts of crime that’s happening. 

They hope to have the app done by early 2020. It will be tested in the southwest district with the hope that it can be effective in the rest of Indiana and eventually the country.