INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Local pastors are working to bring peace to the streets in an Indianapolis neighborhood that is on pace for an increased number of homicides in 2017.
The United Northwest Area, or UNWA, saw just four homicides in 2016, but has already had four this year and last week IMPD officers shot and killed an unarmed man there following a chase.
“I think there is a lot of frustration out there that we have not really made a lot of headway when it comes to reducing the level of violence on the street," Ten Point Coalition Founder Reverend Charles Harrison said. "We’re still kind of in this public safety crisis when it comes to homicides and just the level of criminal activity that happens in these high-crime neighborhoods.”
Reverend Harrison was publicly joined this month by John Girton Jr., or Pastor G, who is sleeping in a tent for 30 days working to highlight some of the challenges in the neighborhood.
“No one can understand unless you’re out here and in it," Girton said.
Girton believes the crime won't decrease until everyone comes together to address the root causes of the violence.
He said poverty, the drug trade and a lack of jobs are all real issues the people preaches to face daily.
“We’re not going to provide just a band aid solution. We’re not just going to be here for 30 days," Girton said. "We are trying to create something that has a long lasting impact on this community.”
“We got to find a way to teach people to handle their conflicts in different ways rather than using guns and violence to settle their conflicts," Harrison said.
All four homicides in the UNWA neighborhood in 2017 remain unsolved.