NEWS-SENTINEL EDITORIAL: AG Sessions in Indy to pitch group designed to reduce crime

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was in Indianapolis Monday to discuss how a local group may be an effective model for fighting neighborhood crime across the country, something that might be considered in Fort Wayne.

Sessions, the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, announced the creation of a new task force to promote community-based policing at a meeting with the Ten Point Coalition, which is led by several African-American ministers and is known for its neighborhood patrols.

Ten Point was recently honored for its crime-reduction efforts by the FBI and Vice President Mike Pence. In August, Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill announced he was making $500,000 available to seed new Ten Point-inspired groups around the state, and Fort Wayne is reportedly among several Indiana cities interested in the program. Ten Point conducts peace walks on a regular basis – usually on weekend nights when the likelihood of violence is higher. At Hill’s request, Sessions took a brief walk around the neighborhood surrounding Barnes United Methodist Church, the site of Monday’s meeting.

Sessions says he believes Ten Point can be a model for other cities. The Ten Point Coalition’s main focus is on decreasing youth violence – specifically, homicides among victims ages 14-24. It’s a problem plaguing southeast Fort Wayne.

An analysis of Indianapolis crime data by WRTV, Channel 6, the city’s ABC affiliate, showed the numbers suggest Ten Point’s model is working. But their story concluded the bottom line is that it’s difficult to draw a clear line between Ten Point and a consistent decrease in overall homicides.

The story quoted Ted Feeney, a former neighborhood president in one of the high-crime areas, who said he supports spreading the Ten Point model. But he said that program won’t likely cure the violence problem by itself.

“I do believe that the model is all of the groups working together,” Feeney said. “It’s the neighborhood, and the police, and the city and something like Ten Point.”

Fort Wayne has several organizations fighting the problem of youth and crime in the city, such as The Boys & Girls Club of Fort Wayne, Youth for Christ and Fort Wayne United, the latter of which was featured in a story recently by reporter Blake Sebring.

We think the addition of a local Ten Point program to the mix would encourage a welcome increase in the involvement of neighborhoods in the effort.