CEO not ‘waiting on Superman’ for plan to fight crime

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The Indianapolis Department of Public Safety has awarded several mini-grants to community organizations that are trying to reduce the violence in Indianapolis.

The Forest Manor Multi-Service Center provides assistance and programs for families living on the east side. Now, the center’s CEO, Regina Marsh, has come up with a 25-page plan to cut crime in the city.

It was a visit to a crime scene last summer that changed Marsh. She went to the scene where James Johnson had been killed, and what she noticed was how the kids that were around her, no longer seemed shocked by the fact that they were standing, riding their bikes and laughing just a few feet away from a murder victim.

“[They were] desensitized to this child laying under a tarp on the basketball court,” said Marsh. “And so it had been enough, we had had seven murders in a row, I was a little outdone.”

The Multi-Service Center sits on 38th Street near Sherman Drive in the 218 zip code, one of the city’s most dangerous. Last August, Marsh started organizing community leaders to effect change. She made phone calls to police and prosecutors, and surrounded herself with who she calls ‘the smartest people she knows.’

“We began looking at other city’s plans,” said Marsh. “We knew we didn’t have to re-invent the wheel. It’s like how do we take parts from every other cities’ plans and utilize it here in the city?”

The group looked at what was being done in Chicago, Philadelphia, and other high crime cities, to bring what’s working there, here.

“We’ve got to look at this system-wide or we’re just going to be moving people from neighborhood to neighborhood,” said Marsh.

The Department of Public Safety agrees. DPS gave the center one of it’s mini-grants to fight crime. Police Chief Rick Hite has been at every one of Marsh’s meetings.

Tuesday evening she’ll present the plan to the public, and will invite them to work alongside the center to cut crime.

“We have to be the ones we’ve been waiting for,” said Marsh. “We can’t wait on Superman, because he’s not real. I’d rather be Batman. Batman is a real person, he’s really out there. He gets cut and shot and beat up on, but he comes back every time. And he fights, and he fights, and he fights. I want to be Batman. Everybody can be Batman.”

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