Neighborhood-based groups tackle complex root causes of crime, though much more funding needed

Indianapolis Area Crime

INDIANAPOLIS — The city’s violence issues are widespread, and so are the neighborhood-based grassroots organizations working tirelessly to tackle the complex root causes likely leading to criminal acts. This week, the city-county council announced dozens of community groups who received district crime prevention grants to expand their resources.

For 22 years, Min. Clayton Stewart’s planted roots on the corner of 42nd Street and Post Road on the city’s northeast side in the Capital City Church of Christ. He is committed to his neighbors here.

“For the most part, we have a very firm counseling program,” Stewart said. “I happen to be a marriage and family therapist as well.”

Stewart said his church’s doors stay open for the people in this community- offering workshops, job skills training and more.

“We’re trying to put vision in people’s heads,” Stewart said. “We’re trying to orientate their perspective towards making personal progress. Quite frankly, unless they see people who look like them, who live around them, and who know them, we just don’t connect.”

The church was just awarded a $5,000 crime prevention grant from the city and will use it toward programming that lasts 8 to 10 weeks.

“So, we have a little bit of time to really to get involved with people and see if we can help them to move past those areas that they may be stuck in,” Stewart said.

District 14 Councilor La Keisha Jackson said her “district’s been underserved for so long.” Jackson supports the crime prevention grants distributed among the districts, based on equity. The 40 groups across Marion County who received money are community-focused and neighborhood-based working to reduce crime.

“They’re doing the work at a grassroots level, so it’s very important to listen to them, to their voice, to their leadership, the impact that they’re already making,” Jackson said. “They’re cornerstones in our community.”

Jackson echoes what other groups say, significantly more funding is needed to make an impact in root causes of crime. But she’s hopeful prioritizing equity will keep more people alive.

“Surely when the numbers come down, when those disparity gaps and poverty gaps close, we know that we’re headed in the right directions,” Jackson said.

Another round of district crime prevention grants will go out this Fall. Jackson encourages groups who would like to apply for this funding to reach out to their district councilors or the Central Indiana Community Foundation who ultimately selected which applicants received the funding.

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