FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill made an announcement Wednesday that he said is aimed at benefiting “crime-ridden areas” in the state. The announcement was said to be “unprecedented” and a “first” for the AG’s office.
Approximately $500,000 will be offered to communities to replicate Indianapolis’ 10 Point Coalition, an initiative to reduce violence and homicide through direct engagement, the promotion of education, and the fostering of employment opportunities.
Communities interested can fill out an application for seed funding. Hill said maybe 5 to 6 communities can be involved depending on the breakdown. This will help launch the initiative but Hill said it’s up to the communities to continue it.
Hill said they will provide interested communities with their 10 Point model and then help them adjust to meet the specific needs of the community.
Groups like Fort Wayne UNITED and the Blue Bucket Brigade were created to support, build and develop programs to increase understanding between law-enforcement and youth. Hill said 10 Point is also directed at youth.
Fort Wayne United Leader Iric Headley said since the launch of their initiative they’ve seen change, but could still benefit from the state’s help.
“All resources don’t come in the form of dollars. Sometimes they come from expertise that we may not have at the table or whatever the case may be.”
Joe Jordan with the Boys and Girls Club and UNITED thinks Fort Wayne has a good chance.
“It sets a really, really positive tone that this is important work. So it helps the local leadership to get on board with it as well if it’s coming from the top down.”
Both Jordan and Headley work with Chris Cathcart through United but also through Ivy Tech. All three said reducing crime is not just an effort through UNITED, it’s about the entire community coming together. Something they think the state will take note of, because of the proactive programs already and existence all of the economic growth and development around the city.
“There’s a lot of interest in providing support for all members of this community and making Fort Wayne more inclusive,” Cathcart said.
This press release was sent by Indiana Attorney General’s Office Wednesday Morning:
Attorney General Curtis Hill today announced a plan to replicate statewide a crime-reduction model developed by the Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition (ITPC). Led by Rev. Charles Harrison, ITPC has made a dramatic impact toward reducing homicides and other violent crimes in several Indianapolis neighborhoods.
“My office is investing in a proven model,” Hill said. “The return on that investment will be safer communities. ITPC has been a vital resource in Indianapolis neighborhoods where homicides and other crimes have been ‘just another day in the life.’ We are offering financial resources to other community groups statewide that will commit to using ITPC’s methods in neighborhoods in serious need of intervention.”
Hill praised ITPC’s “boots-on-the-ground” approach at a press conference Wednesday morning. Three Indianapolis neighborhoods known previously as hotbeds of violent crime have gone more than a year without homicides following the coalition’s involvement.
As part of his commitment to protecting Indiana families from drugs and violent crime, Hill has established a working relationship with Rev. Harrison and ITPC. He has joined the group on faith patrols in Indianapolis neighborhoods to get a firsthand look at ITPC’s impact.
Despite seeing overall reductions in crime over the last several decades, residents in many U.S. cities have seen an uptick in homicides the last few years. Some of the current problems with violent crime are attributable to the ongoing opioid crisis.
“If groups similar to ITPC establish a presence in communities statewide, they will save lives,” Hill said. “ITPC goes into these communities and engages individuals struggling with drug use or involvement with violent criminals. They work to reduce the amount of drugs and violent crimes in neighborhoods by assisting individuals who are going down the wrong paths.”
As areas frequented by ITPC become less crime ridden, individuals determined to continue causing trouble often move to other places where they can more easily stay in the shadows.
“I look forward to seeing the same successful results ITPC has produced in Indianapolis occur in other areas of the state,” Hill said.
Community leaders from Gary already have begun studying how to apply ITPC’s principles.
“We all realize that money is only a small part of the equation,” Hill said. “These efforts work when communities decide they don’t want violence in their neighborhoods and when people take the initiative to turn things around like the people of ITPC have done.”