‘Talk it out, don’t shoot it out’ initiative hopes to curb violence in Indianapolis

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – After a violent weekend in the Circle City, leaders want you to hear them loud and clear: Talk it out, don’t shoot it out.

Community and faith leaders met Monday at Tarkington Park to get their message across in hopes people will put down the gun and find another way to handle violence. They say it’s time to confront the issue.

“Indianapolis continues to have an extraordinary number of acts of violence,” said Reverend David Greene Senior, the Pastor of Purpose of Life Ministries. “This public safety crisis that exists in our city.”

It’s hard to keep up. After this past weekend a juvenile was shot, a double shooting took place on the northwest side, another person was shot on the east side and one person is dead after a stabbing.

“Homicides, even stabbings now, are becoming more critical in our community,” said Dr. Wayne Moore, Pastor of Olivet Missionary Baptist Church.

So far this year, Indianapolis police say the city has had 78 homicides and 68 murders. Comparing that to this time last year, in 2018, the city had 79 homicides and 71 murders.

“Domestic issues, we just had one this weekend, a stabbing. They can call before that even takes place,” said Pastor Moore.

Moore is talking about calling 211 to help resolve a conflict.

“We’d rather you take that emotion and dial 211,” said IMPD Community Strategic Initiatives Liaison Gregory Meriweather.

“We have to find ways to show up before the crime, not always after the crime,” said Moore.

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Last year, Connect-to-Help 211 received almost 190,000 calls, mostly in Marion County.

According to the Connect-to-Help website:

Connect2Help211’s mission is to facilitate connections between people who need human services and those who provide them.  Through the easy-to-remember 2-1-1 dialing code, Connect2Help211 serves solely to promote self-sufficiency, change lives and, as a result, improve the quality of life in our communities.

“They don’t want to resort to stealing to get the food that they need and if they knew there were resources available to them with a simple phone call, that’s the message we’re trying to convey,” said Ann Hartman, the CEO of Connect-to-Help 211.

“We ask the client, 'how can we help?'” said Meyette Griffith, who answers those tough calls.

“I had a gentleman call, he had just been released from jail or prison. He didn’t have anything or anybody to help him, so he was really frustrated. I was able to help defuse the situation, because he begin to talk about how he was going to have to result doing something that would get him back in jail. The first step is making the call,” said Griffith.

If you would like to learn more about Connect-to-Help 211, click here.

Expect to start seeing advertisement for 211 in many barber shops or corner stores to get the message out to communities.

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