INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department reports that so far in 2014, the city has seen 28 criminal homicides. That’s more than 20 percent higher than the same time in 2013, when the number stood at 23.
The total number of criminal homicides in 2013 was 125 — far more than the years prior.
Now city leaders are trying to ensure this year doesn’t outpace last year in terms of violent crime. City leaders, including Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and Public Safety Director Troy Riggs, will unveil their new plan to fight violent crime Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.
Also on hand will be the Ten Point Coalition, whose volunteers are out every weekend to patrol the streets.
The Ten Point Coalition targets the highest crime areas of the city — five zip codes in particular that lie to the north, west and east of the immediate downtown area:
The coalition, led by Rev. Charles Harrison, normally has about 30 volunteers out on Friday and Saturday nights. Now they’re trying increase the number to 90 so volunteers can be out in more shifts and on more days. Harrison said some volunteers do have a criminal past, so they’re familiar with the challenges.
“They help us get into the world that normally a Rev. Harrison couldn’t get into myself because they still have some street cred,” Harrison said. “They help us to reach the kids and the young adults who are most likely to be the victims of the perpetrators of violent crimes, and that’s what’s key in helping to reduce this.”
Other groups and individuals have stepped up to help the Ten Point Coalition. Some live in the high crime neighborhoods, like Pastor Wendell Chinn with the Apostolic Bible Students Association. Others don’t, but they’ve all volunteered to walk the streets in the city’s most dangerous areas to curb the violence.
“We will let them know that if they need to contact us in the future, how they can get in contact with us, the family members with regards to any kind of help,” Chinn said.
Harrison said they’re also trying to proactively deal with a rise in violent crime typically seen as temperatures warm up.
“We reach out to the gangs. We try to identify neighborhood cliques and drug dealers and troubled youth, because we’ve got a lot of youth that are just out there wondering around and potentially they are going to get involved in criminal activity if someone doesn’t intervene,” Harrison said.