Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition President Charles Harrison says more work is needed, around the city and across the state, and says the group can’t do it alone. (Drew Daudelin/WFYI)
An anti-violence group in Indianapolis on Monday celebrated a year without homicides in a far east side neighborhood.
The Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition is a faith-based nonprofit known for its street-level approach – volunteers wearing bright yellow jackets go on safety patrols in high-crime areas.
The state attorney general’s office invested $500,000 to help Ten Point expand about a year ago, and the group says its work in the far east side helped reduce violent crime there. But President Charles Harrison says more work is needed, around the city and across the state, and says Ten Point can’t do it alone.
“There’s a lot of groups out there doing a lot of good things, but the problem is we’re not doing it together,” Harrison says.
Harrison says for these groups to be effective, they need support from the broader community. He says Ten Point is willing to train groups on the community work they do in Indianapolis.
He also says if groups form collaborative partnerships with Ten Point and others around them, it increases their chance to get funding from an outside source.
"This is a proven model that works," Harrison says. "If they use this model, I think they will find support across the city from the philanthropic community, the business community and a lot of churches."
There have been some questions raised in recent years about Ten Point's role in the city's efforts to curb violent crime, its political affiliations, and about how the group connects local declines in crime to its own interventions. The group's leaders maintain that their impact is sometimes intangible, and difficult to chart on a graph.
IMPD Chief Bryan Roach agrees. Roach says Ten Point's approach runs in line with the police department's push for more localized, so-called "community policing," which aims to bridge the divide between communities and the police.
Roach says it's crucial that the group's volunteers have deep ties to the communities where they work.
"At the same time, because of their long history, they have a relationship with law enforcement, they have a relationship with our federal partners," Roach says. "So it's helped being a catalyst to bring all those resources into the area."
Mayor Joe Hogsett spoke at the event to thank Ten Point for its service, a little over one month after two city employees sparked controversy for criticizing the group on social media. Hogsett’s Republican opponent in the upcoming election, Jim Merritt, was also in attendance.