Prayer breakfast focusing on combating crime in Indy

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With homicides and shootings in Indianapolis on a record pace, community help to combat crime is needed now more than ever. That's what the Ten Point Coalition has been doing since it started more than 15 years ago.

Friday morning, they held their biggest fundraiser of the year with their Community Prayer Breakfast.

The coalition's number one tool is people. The more people they can put on the streets in their faith patrols to help address violence face to face, the better their chances of stopping it before it happens. They're help is needed now more than ever.

"The work is important, but it takes resources. So we're here to give people an opportunity to join us. We recognize that not everyone wants to walk the streets and be involved, but they can be involved in this way by donating and giving us valuable resources to continue the work," said Rev. Charles Ellis.

"I've seen them actually stop a situation where they could have been civil disobedience. I've watched them reach out to people who have horrendous criminal histories and turn their lives around," said IMPD Chief Rick Hite.

A look at the latest crime statistics for Indianapolis show that, when it comes to homicides, we already have 12 more this year so far than we did at the same time last year. Non-fatal shootings are also up by 13. If we stay on this track, we'll beat last year's numbers which had the highest murder rate in eight years.

"Not a day goes by where I don't pray. Not a day goes by that I don't pray for our city," said Rep. Andre Carson (D-Indiana).

Ten Point Coalition "faith patrols" are made up of members of the church communities in some of our city's most dangerous zip codes. They're joined by volunteer street workers who may have had a brush with the law in the past and can talk with some of these people committing the crime from a position of experience offering alternatives and lessons.

"I think things would be much worse if the Ten Point Coalition wasn't here. I think we do change lives and maybe it's two at a time or three at a time, but I think we are getting to them," Ellis said. "They're on the street along with our outreach workers and talking to people in the neighborhood, making relationships and once again trying to deter people from violence, putting down the guns, stopping shooting each other and getting on the right path."

The workers get a small stipend. It helps solidify commitment and ensure consistency. Last year, the coalition briefly expanded their patrols from Friday and Saturday nights to Wednesdays and Thursdays after a spike in crime during the week. But the coverage can't continue without financial support.

"Ten Point walks the street late at night and early in the morning and they've been there when people are in dire need of assistance and hlep and now we're here for them," Hite said.