City, non-profit groups target root issues of crime as violence continues

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The city and non-profit groups are pouring resources into addressing root issues of crime, as Indianapolis gets close to 100 murders this year.

After a rash of deadly shootings on the east side over 24 hours, including two on the same street, the sister of one victims told FOX59 she thought people without jobs were perpetuating the crime.

"There’s nothing out here for these guys to do but rob people. If there’s nothing to do you make your own way of doing stuff," Nikki McMichel said. "I think they’re cowards. They should get a job instead of robbing people."

Indianapolis' poverty rate has been reported as 22 percent, above the national average, according to the POLIS Center at IUPUI.

On Wednesday, Mayor Joe Hogsett announced a new initiative with faith leaders to hand out large amounts of grant money to programs tackling poverty.

The city, including IMPD, is also throwing its weight into re-entry programs, as well as going to door-to-door and making more of an effort to connect people with resources.

At the Edna Martin Christian Center, Tawnya McCrary and her staff provide some of those resources. She cautioned that the problem is complicated, and no two people are the same.

"Everybody’s situation is different, but I know it can be done. It takes time, it’s hard work, but there are jobs out here, a lot of jobs out here," McCrary said.

She said that people can become discouraged when they hear 'no' often, and might need help to figure out how to break the cycle, get a job, and support a family.

"To the degree that we can keep people out of survival mode for a long period of time and begin to stabilize people, I don’t think that we’re going to be able to really see an impact on crime," McCrary said.

At Goodwill Industries, much of the focus is on health, education, and jobs. Vice President of Mission Advancement Operations Betsy Delgado said that she also thinks an individual approach is important.

"I think we’ve come a long way in focusing on folks, instead of problems, focusing on families and individuals and in a positive way," Delgado said.

She suggested people walk into a Goodwill, Excel Center or community center and ask for help, if they don't know where to go.

"There are a lot of opportunities out there if you just put your hand up and say, 'I’m interested,'" Delgado said.

It's not easy, though, and McCrary pointed out that it helps to have people in the community and in their own neighborhoods stand up and set an example, if at all possible.

"Everyone has to own a piece of the responsibility and it starts at home, it starts in our neighborhoods, it starts in our communities," McCrary said.

For more information about the services at Edna Martin, click the link here, and at Goodwill Industries, click the link here.