Clergy, community members using past successful programs in new crime prevention planning

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INDIANAPOLIS — Dozens of clergy and community members are taking public safety planning into their own hands as Indianapolis grapples with record-breaking homicides this year.

So far, at least 102 people have been killed in the city since the beginning of the year.

Outside Barnes United Methodist Church on Monday, Olgen Williams, former deputy mayor, and Rev. Malachi Walker of Young Men Inc. Youth Ministry, spoke about the first meeting of nearly 40 people.

“We’re not the only experts, but we are experts,” Williams said. “You put all the experts together in Marion County, we can make a difference pulling this wagon together. We can see this reduced. It takes everybody.”

Joining the clergy are retired IMPD officers and other members of law enforcement. The group is currently writing an action plan, detailing a list of 25 initiatives that have worked in the past. Ultimately, this plan will go to city leaders, like Mayor Joe Hogsett and the city-county council.

“One hundred and two homicides, that’s just way too many,” Walker said. “We just look back at how we done things back in years ago, and we just thought maybe that we can kind of bring some of that back because it worked back then.”

Over the next several weeks, the group will meet to formulate the plan. They are also organizing peace walks and peaceful protests, along with specific sermons regarding public safety within their churches.

“We’re just saying let’s work together, forget the politics, forget all this other issues,” Williams said. “People are dying, people are going to jail. We want to stop it and we have to do it together, and we need the mayor’s office, public safety and we need the neighborhood groups, and the youth groups and the faith groups, we need everybody. We need the news media, we need everybody to pitch in to help.”

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