Downtown business suggests wristbands for combating teen violence

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One Indianapolis business is proposing a  nontraditional plan for curbing youth violence downtown: wristbands.

Doug Stephenson, vice president of Downtown Comics, said he’d like to work with the city on implementing a parent-approved wristband system for teens who want to spend time in downtown businesses at night without their parents.

IMPD and Simon Malls have been focused on reigning in groups of teenagers, following a downtown fight two weeks ago which led to gunshots. Though the past weekend was relatively quiet thanks to a bigger police presence, some businesses, such as Buffalo Wild Wings, have now enacted curfews for weekend nights, barring anyone under 18 who isn’t accompanied by an adult.

Stephenson said many downtown businesses won’t go as far as enacting curfews. He said one alternative could be enacting a wristband policy that allows teens in by themselves if their parents offer consent.

“I think there needs to be a proactive strategy as opposed to the reactive strategy of just sending more police down here,” Stephenson said.

Stephenson calls his idea “Indybands.” Ideally, he said IMPD, the Convention Center and area hotels would give parents the opportunity to sign their kids up to wear the temporary bracelets. He said businesses could then set a curfew for certain nights and provide exceptions to kids who wear the wristbands.

At last year’s state fair, parents could sign up for a program called “lost and find me” which gave kids special wristbands with a QR-code that could be scanned to get the parents’ contact info in case they were lost. Stephenson says Indybands could work in a similar way.

“If they get in any trouble, here’s the band, here’s (the parent) contact info,” Stephenson said. “You get a hold of (the parent) and  (they) come down and take care of it.”

Stephenson said the Convention Center and hotels could sign on to offer the same passes to teens visiting from out of town for events like the FFA convention.

Perry Lach, of Carmel, is skeptical about how a wristband program could practically be structured, but the father of two said it’s at least a conversation starter.

“I think it’s a good attempt to try and make it work,” Lach said.

Stephensonsaid Indybands is still just an idea, but he’d like it to trigger more talk about solutions among downtown businesses.

“They should all come together and figure out what we can do and how we can help,” Stephenson said.

More information about Stephenson’s wristbands is available online.


  • RedStateVet

    What an idiotic idea. "Check in Stations". And then- "Should a dispute occur with a minor over entry, IMPD would be called in to settle the dispute "- how many disputes will there be every night? IMPD does not have these type of resources. Who is going to pay for the bands? The readers? What about the cost of manning the check-in station? Just enact a curfew. Violate curfew, get hauled in. Easy Peasy.

    • Merchant

      So you are saying IMPD should send a bunch of police downtown to cite hundreds of kids for curfew violations on the weekend, and that the cost of this will be less than the shared costs among merchants and the city? Out of curiosity, how long do you think it takes for an officer to detain and cite one kid? 15 minutes to be conservative? Now multiply that by 500 and multiply that by overtime police pay. BTW what you describe is the current policy. How's that working out for us?

      • ClanSmokeJaguar

        RedVet is right in many ways.

        Bottom line: For this to work parents have to be an ACTIVE participant. Problem is the little MFers raising hell downtown come from parents who are not active participants in their children's lives and give less than a rat's bum about what their children are doing at night.

        Personally, I believe this to be a way for the po-po/business to readily identify and deal with said thugs especially since FFA is coming up.

    • hart02

      That would be precursor for everyone having a curfew and alot of curfew are treated as second rate anyway. everybody should learn how to defend themselves. you will be a victim if you have the mentality of one

    • Ms C

      Yes and when they there haul there azz's in go find there guardian and lock them up too
      If they would make these so call parents accountable for there mess they gave birth too
      It may stop a lot of this foo lines

  • John Browning

    I think this is a great idea. It needs some refining, but a great starting point.

    RedStateVet, I think you are misunderstanding how this is supposed to work.

    Police won't be involved at all unless someone is asked to leave, refuses and the business wants them to be removed for tresp@ss. That part wasn't worded well. There is no dispute, property owners can ask anyone to leave. Its basically enforcing existing tresp@ss laws. This is a way to get rid of the groups of teenage thugs roaming around without screwing over the kids who are downtown with their parents (but want to split up for a bit) or convention goers. If you require a parent/guardian to go downtown with the child and fill out a form, you are going to weed out most of the bad kids.

    Who would run the check-in points? Those that benefit from it! The convention center (for convention goers), the area hotels (for their guests), and the mall. Its cheaper and requires fewer resources than these silly security checkpoints they want to do. The cost of all the bands and machines (which they already have for other venues) cost less than adding a single officer downtown.

  • John Browning

    Fox59, please fix your ridiculous filters so it doesn't automatically remove any post with a word like tresp@ss! COME ON!!!

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