Community leaders call for end to city’s violence crisis

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Community leaders called for action Thursday on Indianapolis’ crisis of violence, a day after two east side restaurant employees were shot and killed during a robbery.

Community leaders from the Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition, Indiana Black Expo, Peace in the Street and other organizations spoke at the MLK Community Center on West 40th Street around noon Thursday.

Among the speakers was well-known community activist Rev. Charles Harrison.

“Let’s replicate the successful IMPD policing model that is in Butler-Tarkington, Crown Hill and UNWA and other high-crime neighborhoods across the city,” Harrison said. “Where IMPD, Ten Point, neighborhood associations, community groups, churches and residents have worked together we have seen a significant reduction in homicides.”

As proof of progress, Harrison said that Butler-Tarkington has gone 447 days without a homicide. And Crown Hill, which was ranked the 17th most dangerous neighborhood in America in 2013,  has had one homicide in the last 420 days, according to Harrison.

Rev. Charles Ellis, executive director of Ten Point, is willing to expand its outreach, to other challenged neighborhoods in the city, but the group says it hasn’t been invited to the table by Mayor Hogsett’s administration.

“We are saying we are here and ready to work,” said Ellis.

Deputy Mayor David Hampton attended the newsier and he released this statement below on Thursday:

“Mayor Hogsett is aware and sensitive to recent inquiries concerning the city’s role regarding the rise in homicides. We couldn’t agree more – the city needs additional resources to address public safety in our community. That’s why last year alone our administration spent more than $5 million dollars in grants and community programming focused on the root causes of crime.

That includes:

  •         Almost $500,000 in COPS grants that foster community policing efforts within the city
  •         $2 million in federal funds that put over 1,000 teens to work over the summer months and allowed for soft skill training and job preparedness classes
  •         Over $37,000 in grants that provided services and resources to individuals recently released from prison
  •         $13,000 + for mental health training of first responders and public safety officials
  •         $2 million in Crime Prevention Grants through our community partners at CICF. That money helped to fund 42 organizations across Indianapolis

Still, more must be done. Thanks to the work of Councilor Clay and the City-County Council, we have increased our Crime Prevention Grant funding by 12% — now a total of 2.25 million dollars in 2017. This is the first time the Crime Prevention Grant funds have been increased since 2010. Also, proposals have been made to assist grass roots organizations with grant monies, who do good work, but perhaps do not possess the capacity.”

Ten Point Coalition remains hopeful that a meeting with Mayor Hogsett can be set up in the near future.

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