Indianapolis Plans To Spend $400K On Alternative Crime Prevention Approach

By Nethani Palmani | Mar 23, 2017 10:09 AM EDT

Indianapolis is planning to spend $400,000 on using conflict resolution to heighten crime prevention. The money will be targeted toward anti-violence groups such as Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition that works to de-escalate conflicts, particularly at crime scenes.

The plan was earlier approved by the City-County Council with a 22-1 vote on Monday. The Central Indiana Community Foundation will give the money to nonprofits that work on patrolling the city's high-crime neighborhoods through conflict resolution as an alternative crime prevention approach.

Nearly 145 homicides were reported in Indianapolis in 2016, according to U.S. News & World Report. Since the coalition started patrolling a north side neighborhood after a 2015 crime surge, the area has seen a relieve from homicide for more than a year now.

Executive director Rev. Charles Ellis recently told the Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee that the coalition has been deprived of funding from the Indianapolis city since 2015. The Central Indiana Community Foundation awards over $2 million worth crime prevention grants to nonprofits, but has never included the coalition because its' work doesn't meet the awards' criteria.

However, not all council members are nodding their heads to the plan. "The narrowing of the criteria seems to fit exactly the mission statement of a particular organization," said council Vice President Zach Adamson, a Democrat. "I think that's a dangerous precedent for this body to set."

Some council members even pointed out their concern that the proposal seems tailor-made for Ten Point Coalition. Republican Jeff Coats, who introduced the proposal, explained that the money to be distributed will come from the accrued interest of Indianapolis' rainy day fund. It is the same funding source that Democratic council members last year unsuccessfully proposed tapping for a council pay raise, according to Indy Star.

Meanwhile, supporters believe the grants could be part of a larger solution to Indianapolis' homicide problem. Republican Colleen Fanning, who represents a northern district that includes Broad Ripple, called the proposal innovative and very well spent in its capacity for fighting crime.

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