Community groups devise crime prevention plan

Plan calls for help for parents, mentors for kids

INDIANAPOLIS - Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard recently laid out his plan to combat crime and violence , and now dozens of community groups have come up with their own solution.

The July 2013 homicide of 16-year-old James Johnson by another 16-year-old on a playground went too far for Regina Marsh.

"I had my 16-year-old with me and she was visibly upset, however, none of the kids in the area were because they're desensitized to the crime happening in our community," Regina Marsh, CEO of Forest Manor Multi-Service Center, said.

The next month, Marsh helped enlist dozens of other community groups to lay out a plan to attack crime and violence -- and an alarming murder rate.

Nearly eight months later, the group has come up with a comprehensive blueprint to help reduce crime.

It's called the Citywide Crime Prevention and Reduction Plan and Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Rick Hite advised the groups.

“We can't be everywhere 24 hours a day 7 days a week and the community sees it. They understand it and now they have to be empowered to do something about it," Hite said.

IMPD officials say that five of the city's ZIP codes make up 48 percent of its murders -- and drugs are the leading cause. 

Sixty community groups are fighting the statistics by creating a network of parent support, mentoring kids and identifying ways to prevent violence and crime.

Nicole MaGee's 24-year-old-son Andre was shot and killed last June in one of those ZIP codes.

"My job and mission is to help these zones over here because my son was affected, so that the next mother, child, father or grandparent will not have to go through what I'm going through," MaGee said.

The groups hope to take back their city and save young men and women from the same fate that has destroyed so many lives and families.

Follow Chris Proffitt on Twitter: @chrisproffitt

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