INDIANAPOLIS — Every Tuesday night, Joe Garrison and Reverend Charles Harrison patrol the Lake Castleton Apartment Complex. It sits at Shadeland Avenue and 75th Street on the northeast side.
"In 2021, there were three homicides at the apartment complex, two more across the street at the bar, and two more at the apartment complex behind that," Garrison said.
That's when Garrison, the co-founder of North Shadeland Alliance, teamed up with Reverend Charles Harrison, board president at the Indianapolis TenPoint Coalition, to bring peace to the neighborhood.
"I've always kind of looked at things like, how can I help? And this is one way maybe I can help," Garrison said. "I think people overestimate the amount of skills you need to help a community. I mean, I'm in marketing, and I'm walking around an apartment complex with Reverend Harrison every week. There's not really a marketing skillset that lends itself to that."
"We believe that it'll work everywhere. That there's no neighborhood so bad that you can't bring down the level of violence if you work together," Harrison said. "I believe in the power of presence. And I believe that by having a presence there and connecting with residents there, working with the complex, IMPD, and other community groups we can have an effect on the violence and bring down the numbers. We've seen it happen."
They say IMPD has been supportive by stepping up their own patrols. The complex owners have also been upping security. Now, the complex has gone more than a year with no homicides.
"It feels good that there's not been a homicide. Not to say that everything's fixed. We'll take zero all day long, but there have been some non-fatal shootings over there," Garrison said.
There's still a lot of work today, but a year with no killing is the first step.
"Whatever you're good at, whatever you're passionate about, or even just being present in an area can make a huge difference. So don't underestimate yourself," Garrison said.
For more information about how you can get involved in your community, or develop your own neighborhood watch patrols, reach out to the TenPoint Coalition. They can help you pinpoint what your community needs and help you organize to fix it.