INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – On Friday, representatives from the Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition and Indiana Attorney General’s office traveled from Indianapolis to Ohio to meet with state leaders about building a similar program there.
Meetings are planned in Columbus and Cleveland on Friday, but this is a statewide effort.
Organizers say, their goals in Ohio are much like those in Indianapolis, reducing youth gun violence, reducing recidivism, and increasing educational and job opportunities for at-risk youth and those out of prison.
Reverend Charles Harrison, the Regional Ten Point Director in Indianapolis, said it takes six months to a year from Friday’s meetings to getting volunteers on the ground.
“This is a very dangerous undertaking when you start sending people into some of these high crime neighborhoods and you're interacting with drug dealers, gang members,” Reverend Harrison said. “If you don't know how to go about interacting and understanding the street language, then it becomes very dangerous.”
Reverend Harrison said organizers have to find the right people and train them before those volunteers walk the streets every night, including training in dealing with criminals and crime victims.
The Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition has also helped other cities nationwide, like Chicago and Boston. What makes the efforts in Ohio different is a statewide approach rather than focusing on a specific city.