MUNCIE, Ind. (WISH) — Muncie community leaders plan to launch a replica of the Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition next week.
It’s one group’s response to the violence and drugs gripping Delaware County.
For years, people in Indianapolis have seen the Ten Point Coalition’s neon vests marching through inner-city streets as the group tries to guide gang members away from crime. Murder rates have dropped in certain neighborhoods where the group frequently works.
Marvin Strong is a former drug dealer in Muncie who reached out to Ten Point to form a blueprint for the Muncie group after a violent February. Strong stood before Muncie locals, the police chief and the county sheriff and laid out his plans Thursday evening at Muncie’s Unity Center.
“Today, it starts the movement,” Strong said. “You will see my face all over Muncie. Everywhere. Why? Because enough is enough. I’m tired of people dying. Young people dying. I’m tired of people going to prison.”
Over the past month, police said three people have been murdered in Muncie.
Officers logged 13 drug overdoses and three overdose deaths in the first weekend of February.
Police Chief Joe Winkle said people on Muncie’s streets are afraid of being labeled a snitch.
“We can only do so much until people start helping us with: Who’s doing these things? Who’s supplying this stuff?” Winkle said at Thursday’s meeting.
Two of Ten Point’s goals are to sway people away from violent retaliation and to encourage people to help the police.
They also work with local employers to help turn criminals into reformed criminals.
After Thursday’s meeting, Indianapolis Ten Point leader Rev. Charles Harrison called on anyone who’s willing to volunteer to meet in the back of the room.
More than a dozen people circled around and listened to Harrison’s advice.
“Eventually, when you start engaging people and you start helping them, they will start helping you,” Harrison said.
Harrison has been traveling to Muncie to help form the new group.
The vice president of development for Meridian Health Services, who spoke at Thursday’s meeting, said Meridian Health Services has hired reformed criminals in the past and they plan to work with the Muncie group to help get criminals back on track.
The new group plans to hit the streets on Thursday.