INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Tuesday, a bus full of clergy, probation officials and even teens connected to the juvenile probation system arrived at the Barnes United Methodist Church on the city's near northwest side from Chicago. Their mission was to learn all they could about the model for the Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition.
"So many people were excited about what we heard, we said we have to make a trip to Indianapolis to see what you guys are doing here, and how you've been able to be so effective," Rev. Robert Biekman said.
Biekman is the senior pastor at the Maple Park United Methodist Church on Chicago's south side.
Biekman said the people he works with in Chicago, along with himself, heard about Ten Point's design during a gun violence conference in April. If they adopt it in Chicago, they hope it will curb crime in the Maple Park area which is home to around 45,000 people.
"The thing that's really crucial is building the relationships, not just with the community members, that's where it begins but also with the system stakeholders, with the police, with probation, with others," Biekman explained.
The team spent the late morning and early afternoon hearing from Rev. Charles Harrison, Ten Point Peacemakers and IMPD officers about the ways they build communication between the neighborhoods and law enforcement.
According to Ten Point's website, the peacemakers were able to reduce homicides by 85% in the Butler-Tarkington, Crown Hill and United Northwest neighborhoods.
Iric Headley is the executive director of Fort Wayne UNITED which adopted a similar model to Indy Ten Point last October. He said the city is seeing success in the Oxford community already.
"Not just homicides but break-ins and rape and battery, and so many different things are decreasing just because of this concept of the Power of Presence," Headley said.
Headley said not only are they preventing crime, but they are connecting people in Fort Wayne with jobs and more education.