Indianapolis is planning to spend $400,000 on using conflict resolution to prevent crime.
The City-County Council approved the award to nonprofit organizations that patrol the city’s high-crime neighborhoods with a 22-1 vote Monday, the Indianapolis Star reported. The Central Indiana Community Foundation will give the money to nonprofits that work on conflict resolution as an alternative prevention approach.
Police investigated a record of nearly 145 homicides in 2016, prompting calls from city officials and residents to find solutions.
The money will be targeted toward groups such as Indianapolis Ten Point Coalition. The anti-violence group works to de-escalate conflict, often at crime scenes.
Since the coalition began patrolling a north side neighborhood after a 2015 crime spike, the area has gone more than a year without a homicide.
Executive director Rev. Charles Ellis recently told the council’s Public Safety and Criminal Justice Committee that the group had been shut out of city money since 2015. The Central Indiana Community Foundation awards over $2 million a year in crime prevention grants to nonprofits, but the criteria don’t include the coalition’s type of work.
“We’d like a process where we’re able to show what we do,” Ellis said. “We just want a fair shot.”
Some council members said they were concerned the proposal seems tailor-made for Ten Point Coalition.
“The narrowing of the criteria seems to fit exactly the mission statement of a particular organization,” said council Vice President Zach Adamson, a Democrat. “I think that’s a dangerous precedent for this body to set.”
Republican Jeff Coats, who introduced the proposal, has said the council doesn’t have control over where the money is distributed.