INDIANAPOLIS - Members of the Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition met Wednesday night to train new volunteers to walk the streets of downtown and some of the city’s most dangerous neighborhoods.
One faith leader said the city’s violence is a crisis and decisive and drastic action is needed.
"I think we need to pull the gloves off and say this kind of thing won't be tolerated. We have to be serious about it. We cannot stay stuck in neutral, which is where we are now," Pastor Charles Ellis said.
Ellis is the interim executive director of the Ten Point Coalition. His organization’s faith patrols help to control crowds and help police in dangerous and busy areas.
"It's an ongoing battle, and it's an ongoing thing. I think the silver lining in that is more people are coming to say I want to help," Ellis said.
Chris Davis was one of the volunteers Wednesday evening.
"Our approach to changing some of what we're seeing in terms of the epidemic of violence in our community is mentoring, spending time with youth, engaging with them and instilling in them some of the values and morals we believe are necessary to be productive citizens," Davis said.
Ellis agreed. He said finding jobs for the city’s young people is one of his priorities.
"At the end of the day, a person that feels like they don't have any hope -- they feel like they've got nothing to lose anyway. We have to work on that end to say you can turn it around, all is not lost," Ellis said.
Wednesday’s group of volunteers was specifically training to patrol the streets of downtown during the Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration this weekend.
Many teens and young adults were expected to attend the weekend events. Nine people were shot during the event in 2010.