INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — For years, the Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition has worked to reduce crime in some west side neighborhoods.
Now their eye is sharply focused on helping an east side neighborhood where one of four people was shot overnight.
That man, 34-year-old Martel Thomas, was found dead in an alley near 10th and Rural.
About twelve hours after neighbors spotted Thomas’ body, Indy Ten Point Coalition leaders prayed at the site. People nearby expressed how happy they were to see Ten Point in the area.
“They’re people trying to just bring a neighborhood that’s you know, not doing so good right now, closer together,” said neighborhood business owner Charles Lovelady.
Lovelady owns a barber shop and Chuck’s Coney Island just a couple blocks away from where the shooting happened. He’s been talking to Ten Point leaders, sharing information, each time he sees them.
Lately, that’s been more often.
Two months ago, a teen shot and killed in front of Brookside Elementary prompted community leaders to call Reverend Charles Harrison for help.
It was one of at least five homicides in the Brookside neighborhood since the year started.
Many community members hope Ten Point’s award-winning philosophy and mode of operation will pay off in Brookside too.
“I told him I wanted to start walking with them through the neighborhood because a lot of people here know me,” said Lovelady.
So far, Lovelady has walked with Ten Point most weekends they’re out. Wallace Nash, a Ten Point leader, hopes that encourages others in the neighborhood, to help the organization recruit people to lead the east side effort.
“You have to have people from the community to get involved so that the people that are doing the drama and the violence, they already know them,” said Nash.
Nash admits not everyone has been thankful for their presence.
But he maintains that if they weren’t trying to do something positive, nobody would have anything to say at all.
Lovelady agrees. He says while the shootings are sobering reminders of how much work is left to be done, he’s inspired by the subtle improvements he is already seeing.
“I’ve seen changes as far as the little petty crime or local crime or the panhandling,” said Lovelady. “It’s slowed down tremendously.”
Ten Point is only patrolling on the east side on Sundays right now.
With help from IMPD and the state attorney general—which have both expressed the desire to expand Ten Point in other parts of the city—they’re looking for funding.
Eventually they hope Brookside leaders will have the resources to patrol the area as often as Ten Point does on the west side now.