Self-defense class to help downtown workers, residents after mugging reports

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Reports of a downtown bar’s employees being mugged has led to a partnership with IMPD to teach self-defense.

According to an email from a Punch Bowl Social manager, three of his coworkers in the last seven months have been violently robbed in or around the attached parking garage.

A lot of downtown bar and restaurant employees leave work pretty late at night, especially on the weekends, leaving them more vulnerable to criminals.

Since that won’t change, the manager walked down the street to IMPD Downtown District headquarters.

“They just came here and told us the story and asked, ‘Is there anything you can do?’” recounted Officer Jeffrey Patterson, an IMPD community resource officer. “I said, ‘As a matter of fact, there is!’”

What Patterson will do, is offer a new, self-defense class.

As a 7th degree black belt in karate, Patterson is the perfect fit for teaching Punch Bowl employees how to stay safe.

Quickly, Patterson and the Punch Bowl employee realized the class is something workers at many other downtown bars and businesses could benefit from.

“In the self-defense classes, we also teach awareness,” said Patterson. “People just don’t pay attention to things.”

Heightened awareness starting inside the bars where they work and continuing until they get in their cars and safely home could help prevent all types of crimes, Patterson believes.

“If we can get employees on board with not just worrying about serving the customers, but looking around and saying, ‘That’s not normal’, then we have hundreds more eyes, just because they’ve been trained,” said Patterson.

The more trained employees and customers, the better. So Patterson’s classes, will be available to anyone who works or lives downtown at hours that work for them.

Most importantly, it will be free.

“Imagine if we said, yeah you can come, but it’s going to cost you some money and you don’t have any money,” said Patterson. “That wouldn’t be right.”

Along with the civilian response to active shooter and the awareness class, it’s all free. And it’s ongoing. We’re going to do it as long as people want it.

Right now, the first class is scheduled for June 12, with the location still somewhat up in the air.

For people who can’t make it to that date, anyone can reach out to Officer Patterson at any time to schedule a class for your office or apartment building or even a group of friends.

You can call him at 317-327-6500 or email him at