By Eddie Drews
INDIANAPOLIS — In an effort to reduce crime across the state, Attorney General Curtis Hill is launching a program to help cities replicate a successful crime-reduction model.
Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill announces his plan to lower Indiana crime. Photo by Eddie Drews, TheStatehouseFile.com
Hill is partnering the Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition, a faith-based organization geared toward fighting crime. Members of the coalition take part in peace walks where they build relationships with community members.
“Most of what occurs that makes Ten Point Coalition a success is by hard sweat equity,” Hill said at a news conference Wednesday.
The coalition members can act as a liaison between community members who may have information about crimes or criminals and the police to help reduce the fear of reporting.
Commander Michael Jefferson, who oversees the Northwest District for the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, said the collaboration between law enforcement and the coalition is priceless.
“I couldn’t tell you how many times that I’ve gotten a text or a phone call from one of the reverends or one of the members just to pass on information about what they’re hearing, about what they’re seeing involving crime,” he said.
Now, the attorney general’s office wants other cities to create similar coalitions to help reduce crime.
The attorney general’s office will use $500,000 for the program, which will serve as seed money for non-governmental groups to launch their own coalitions and then also matching grants to help the groups grow. Then cities will be responsible to continue funding the programs.
“Part of what makes this work is the community has to take ownership,” Hill said.
Rev. Charles Harrison, president of the Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition, speaks about the coalition’s partnership with the office of Attorney General Curtis Hill. Photo by Eddie Drews, TheStatehouseFile.com
Three Indianapolis neighborhoods known previously as hotbeds of violent crime have gone more than a year without homicides following the Ten Point Coalition’s involvement.
Community leaders in Gary have already started studying how the coalition works.
In the last two years, Indiana was ranked number one and number two in the country for black homicides across the state, according to Harrison.
“We certainly want to reduce those numbers across the state in the next year and a half,” said Rev. Charles Harrison, president of the coalition. “So that Indiana is leading the nation rather than being at the top of the nation when it comes to our young people dying on the streets.”
Eddie Drews is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.