INDIANAPOLIS — The community’s voice is rising as people work to find solutions to Indy’s surging violence. So far this year, at least 169 people have been killed and at least 470 people have been shot. Thursday night, northeast side neighbors packed the Castleton United Methodist Church for the North Shadeland Alliance’s Crime Summit.
“I think that our community just really wants, first of all, some reassurance,” Kris Parmelee, Co-Founder of the North Shadeland Alliance, said. “And some honest answers from some folks who keep telling us that this is a safe area in the city.”
Parmelee helped organize the summit which included six panelists, City-County Councilor Dan Boots, City-County Councilor Ethan Evans, Indianapolis TenPoint Coalition and Senior Pastor at Barnes United Methodist Church Charles Harrison, IMPD North District Commander Michael Wolley, Stand Together for a Safer Indianapolis Leader Matthew Steward and Guy Relford, Attorney and 93.1 WIBC-FM Host.
Parmelee hopes the event was either the start of engagement for some neighbors and another chance to stay engaged for others.
“Technology has made it so easy to see what your elected officials are doing and how they’re representing you,” Parmelee said. “COVID has made it difficult to go to city-county meetings. But you can watch them online. You can even watch recorded ones so you can see how your councilor voted, and it’s easy to send an email.”
During the summit, attendees answered pre-submitted questions. The main topics included pre-trial release, GPS monitoring, and the need to hire more officers in Indy. Wolley said the questions held his feet to the fire, along with other leaders in the criminal justice system.
“Some of them I can use data to answer, but others you know, I’ve got to think outside the box to see if there’s ways to come together as a community, as a whole to figure out answers and solutions for those,” Wolley said.
Wolley reported of the 155 murders Indy’s suffered so far, at least 74% of those involved are known to the criminal justice system, a trend continuing in 2021. Wolley said solving this issue is multi-layered.
Wolley adds he is encouraged by the energy of the northeast side community.
“Honestly, if we could take this model and put it other places of the city, who knows what would happen,” Wolley said. “I mean they’re completely engaged. The questions they have asked, some of them are tough questions.”
The panelists answered questions that impact all of Marion County. You can watch the entire meeting on the North Shadeland Alliance’s Facebook page.