MUNCIE, Ind. -- The City of Muncie has recruited an Indianapolis community leader to share his anti-violence model and help build on their effort to reduce crime in the city.
The Ross Foundation has focused their efforts on reducing violence on the far east side of Indianapolis, and founder Derris Ross is taking that model to share with the city of Muncie.
“It’s a lot of separatism, as far as groups don’t want to come together,” said Ross. “He feels like they can really end violence if they come together.”
“We are partnering with a whole list of organizations, schools, and ministries who are all tired. They want to show some solidarity around the violence that is going on in their communities,’ said Ross.
One of those organizations is the Boys and Girls Club of Muncie, a group that provides a safe place for nearly 200 kids each day.
“Our club 1710 Dance Team is going to be marching – along with their moms,” said Qiana Clemens. “I understand the spearheaders for this march are moms concerned for safety for their children. That is what we do here at the club – so it was a wise choice for us to participate.”
Muncie has already seen a decrease in the number of homicides, from six last year to just one this year, but Muncie Police Chief Joe Winkle says there is still work to be done to reduce other crimes.
“We think it’s probably 90 percent of our crime, in some way related to drugs. Either people committing crimes to get money for drugs or the violence that goes on sometimes is about drugs and drug trade,” said Winkle. “We’ve made that a big focus in 2018 for sure.
Chief Winkle says part of that focus has included patrol officers working with the drug unit and actively looking out for drug dealers in town. He says there are also more officers in the streets now because they’ve changed from eight-hour to twelve-hour shifts.
Winkle says they are also expecting to have 10 new officers working in the field by the end of the year.
A youth-based anti-violence peace march will be held Saturday, September 29 at noon at Heekin Park in Muncie.
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