Community groups work to reduce east-side crime

Derris Ross with the Ross Foundation. (WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — More than halfway through February, police in Indianapolis have recorded one homicide for the month.

Last year during the entire month, IMPD investigated 11 as part of a record-breaking year for murders.

Community groups like the Ross Foundation have been working with the IMPD commander in the east district and the Indianapolis mayor’s office to bring those numbers down in 2018.

One action they’re taking is a service day in March with an aim to bring resources and services directly to people impacted by crime and violence on the city’s east side.

The neighborhood near 42nd Street and Post Road saw five homicides in January, from shootings to the discovery of a missing teen found dead in a vacant townhouse.

But more than a month later, Derris Ross, who runs a nonprofit aimed at improving the quality of life on the east side, said he’s seeing change.

“We had a community intervention with some of the young guys who are tied to some of the violence in our community,” said Ross. “We had that talk where we worked out an agreement where they agreed to cease fire, and it’s been 28 days (in the 42nd and Post area) without a shooting,” said Ross, who runs the Ross Foundation.

He’s hoping to keep up the momentum by starting a service day next month.

“If we want to see the number of homicides reduce this year, it takes our community to save the community,” he said.

From March 5-9, Ross’s group will set up at Meadowlark Apartments, Carriage House East, Maison Gardens, and IPS schools 103 and 105 to meet with residents and students.

“We want to tackle mental health, tackle trauma, tackle addictions, tackle felons, poverty, any situation,” he said.

Other groups like Unite For Change are hoping to address the same problem.

“We talk about the guns and the violence, what you hear and see, but very little is said about what we don’t hear and see,” said Yvette Markey, the program director for Unite For Change.

Her group has also been working with the mayor and other city leaders for better days in Indianapolis.

“Come outside their doors, come outside the wall, come outside their churches and see what’s happening. Just touch one soul at a time,” she said.

Unite for Change is hosting a job fair in April at the EpiCenter at 2952 MLK Street.