INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – It’s been a year since the last murder in the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood.
Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition often cites the neighborhood as an indicator of the success of its programs to slow violent crime and an example of what could happen for the rest of the city.
The city hit a record 271 homicides in 2021. The Indianapolis Metro Police Department has so far arrested 75 people in these cases.
Reverend Dr Charles Harrison, Chairman of the Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition, told News 8 that the bottom-up approach is working and the group is successful, adding that reducing violence has been a partnership between the IMPD and the community, including local organizations like the coalition.
Members walk the streets to help keep the peace
On weeknights you can find Ten Point members walking the streets of Butler-Tarkington, bundled up and kissed by the cold.
Member Anthony Neal has lived in the neighborhood for 20 years and said he joined the group after seeing an increase in crime.
“Everyone was moving, heavily drug infested, lots of shootings,” Neal said.
However, not anymore.
“You see people walking the streets and loving being in the neighborhood. When I first came here it was more like a prisoner in your own home and now I have seen the change. I saw the change, ”Neal said.
The final straw
the murder of DeShaun Swanson, a ten year old boy, was the last straw for the community in October 2015. The Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood Association called on Ten Point to step in shortly thereafter.
“They informed us that this was the fourth shooting they had in less than two months and they told us about the possibility of coming into the neighborhood and helping,” said Harrison.
They’ve been boots on the pitch ever since. The coalition is made up of religious leaders, former gang members and former convicts. Some still have a street reputation and help to gain the trust of the community.
“You have to have the trust of the community if you want to solve problems because what people don’t know the community knows,” Neal said.
Harrison said their efforts helped indict two gangs in the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood.
“Our job is how to keep little Charles alive?” How do you keep him alive? And then how do we keep him on the path to success so that he doesn’t end up in jail or in the grave, and that’s what we’re trying to do, ”Harrison said.
The president also believes Butler-Tarkington is a role model not only for Indianapolis, but for the nation in helping to reduce crime.
A press conference is scheduled at The United Methodist Church Thursday at 2 p.m. to discuss the success in the neighborhood.