East side residents talk about crime, other concerns with city leaders

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Jan. 5, 2014) - On a cold Monday night residents packed inside an east side church to talk about the issues in their neighborhood.

The Department of Public safety held a community conversation to focus on the area near New York Street and Sherman Avenue. The area is one of six being targeted by the city to improve crime and quality of life.

"We're going to hear what the needs are, we're going to start putting goals and objectives together for these areas, we're going to base those goals and objectives on the data that we have on the information that we're receiving from these community conversations and people are going to see us get to work," said Troy Riggs, Public Safety Director.

City officials announced the target zone initiative in October and have spent the past few months pouring over data. Riggs said the next step is announcing a list of goals for each area.

A broad list of goals is expected to be announced as soon as next week and specific goals will be added as city leader meet with individual neighborhoods.

One of the major concerns is the number of vacant or abandoned homes in these high crime areas. Resident Chris Staab chairs a crime reduction committee for the Near East side Community Organization (NESCO).

"The problems are the abandoned properties and keeping them secure. There's been a lot of crime that's attracted to these abandoned buildings, there's been a lot of juvenile mischief that happens with these abandoned buildings," said Chris Staab, Crime Reduction Chairman for NESCO.