Indianapolis’ peacemaker program received funding to combat the city’s rising crime rate. A year later, officials say they are starting to see results.

Peacemakers connect with community members, provide mentorship and violence interrupters try to prevent crime. The program is part of Mayor Joe Hogsett’s violence reduction strategy, and received additional funding from the American Rescue Plan to grow to 50 staff members.

Officials presented an update on the program earlier this month to the Indianapolis City-County Council’s Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee.  Deputy Mayor of Public Health and Safety Lauren Rodriguez said at the meeting that the program uses a data-driven approach to identify high risk individuals and connect them with life coaches.

“We figure out what support that they need and make sure that we get them what they need when they need it,” she said.

Over the past year, peacemakers interrupted more than 650 incidents, said Dane Nutty, executive director of the Indy Public Safety Foundation, at the meeting.

“This is a very bold investment from the council and from the city of Indianapolis. And I think we’re seeing that pay off already,” Nutty said.

As of mid-December, the city’s intentional homicide rate is down almost 15 percent compared to last year.

Looking forward, the program’s leaders hope to hire more staff to fill all 50 positions and work more closely with schools to connect with youth.