It was a night for people in neighborhoods across the country to take back their streets, and it was an event that held special significance in Broad Ripple.
Days after a shooting injured four people in the Indianapolis neighborhood, the Broad Ripple Village Association took part in National Night Out, an event meant to educate people about how they can make their neighborhoods safer.
For many who live in Broad Ripple, the opportunity to meet with local police, fire and other agencies was a welcome way to discuss efforts to combat crime.
A year ago A.J. Macht was robbed at gunpoint in Broad Ripple. Now he’s passionate about changing the way people address security in the area.
“I have changed behavior and habits as a direct result of having a gun to my back,” Macht said. “I don’t wish that on anyone. I don’t even wish that on the criminals that did it to me.”
Broad Ripple community leaders are also still searching for ways to combat violence. Last week’s shooting has prompted businesses in the neighborhood to raise money for increased Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Bike Patrols. They will take place during the late night hours when crime typically peaks outside bars and on side streets.
“An increased police presence is very attractive, we’re very supportive,” said Brooke Klejnot with the Broad Ripple Village Association. “We were one of the advocates that encouraged that scenario to be considered. So we’re very excited that it’s coming to fruition.”
For young families in the area, the idea of more cops and the promise of a new police substation located in the parking garage on College Avenue are welcome signs of progress.
“Living in the area I think you take the good with the bad,” said Matt Weaver, who lives in Broad Ripple with his wife and young boy. “We haven’t been directly affected by any of the crime, but we do realize a lot of the people are working hard like the bike patrols and officers and community to help make the neighborhood safer.”
Macht wants to take the idea a step further. In addition to adding police, he is helping make the pitch for adding more street lights. A plan backed by the village association would light a stretch of side streets and cost the city about $400,000. It’s still being examined by the Department of Public Works, but it already has some early supporters.
“I’m definitely supportive of more lighting for Broad Ripple,” said At-Large City-County Councilman John Barth. “I’m really supportive of whatever we can do across the city to make sure that we can reduce crime.”
“I still love the area and I still live in the area and I hope to for many years to come, but I think we need to invest in the area we live in,” Macht said.