Ten Point fights crime and budgets

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One of the city's most high-profile crime fighting groups has a budget fight on its hands.

The Ten Point Coalition and other faith based groups we've seen in neighborhood streets going face-to-face with trouble fear they're being written out of the city council's crime fighting plan.

When there's trouble, ministers and volunteers of the coalition aren't usually far behind. They intervene and try to reach the people and issues behind violent crimes.

"Nobody is doing what we do." said the Reverend Charles Harrison. "Nobody is going into these neighborhoods dealing directly with gangs and clicks. Nobody is doing it but Ten Point."

PHOTO: Ten Point Coalition volunteer greeting a member of the community

But in a city beset with violence, Rev. Harrison conceded the coalition is a shadow of what it was. Over several years, Indianapolis' community crime prevention funding dropped from $5 million to $2 million. Ten Point's share fell from $200,000 to $50,000. Instead of covering five troublesome zip codes, workers only reach two.

Other church groups have cut back on their outreach programs.

When they were running, Rev Harrison said, "Instead of kids going downtown or in Broad Ripple, they were staying in their neighborhoods, going to safe havens."

Harrison blames the city council for changing priorities and leaving churches and faith-based groups out of Indianapolis' crime fighting plan.

He explained, "If the council would have listened to us and not moved forward in moving that money, we would not be here today with 76 homicides in August."

PHOTO: City Council meeting

About a year ago, the council moved the money and grant approval responsibility to the Central Indiana Community Foundation. Harrison praised the philanthropic organization's work, but now Ten Point is competing with 79 other nonprofit groups for funding it needs to help stop the violence.

The CICF's community impact director explained a comprehensive approach to fighting violent crime. Summer grants totaling $159,000 went to 15 groups as varied as the Peace Learning Center, The Ten Point Coalition and the Clean for Green Jobs program.

After his interview, Reverend Harrison tweeted, "Indy residents r buying bulletproof vests 4 the 10 Point patrol team members. Wow, what community love 4 10 Point."