INDIANAPOLIS – Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department North District Commander Tom Koppel and the management from Castleton Square Mall met late Tuesday afternoon to discuss the violence at the mall this past Saturday night and ways to keep shoppers safe and teens under control in the future.
Four teens were arrested and two guns were confiscated last weekend as young people brawled inside and outside the mall. They were moved off Castleton property and finally sent home aboard IndyGo buses.
After similar battles downtown in January, Mayor Greg Ballard and IMPD responded by beefing up patrols around Circle Centre, another mall site operated by Simon Properties.
“We’re working with community leaders and other partners to quickly deal with issues as they arise,” Ballard said during his State of the City Address on Friday, a day before the most recent mall violence. “In response to a few highly publicized incidents downtown we flooded the area with officers and volunteers and also worked with our partners to warn known troublemakers not to come downtown.”
Rev. Malachi Walker of Young Men, Inc., a mentoring organization that provides summertime alternatives for dozens of youths each year, said the teens are involved in a grand game of hide-and-seek with the police and mall community.
“These things probably started real early in the day, probably going on Facebook and calling folks up and saying, ‘Hey, we’re going to meet at so-and-so place, we’re going to Castleton, we’re going to McDonald’s,” he said.
“A lot of them, 90% of them, are going there just to see a big fight and see how things are going to turn out.”
Walker added, “They think like kids and these are kids with a mindset and they just want to go out and what they probably consider fun and going into the malls and acting like this but it’s hurting themselves.”
Walker said teenagers need to be asked what draws them to the malls and away from their own communities on weekends. Parents need to be convinced to take some responsibility for Saturday night trouble.
A spokesman for Simon Properties told Fox 59 News that perhaps it’s time for Castleton managers to eject groups of four or more young people who act up inside the mall.
IMPD said it will announce Wednesday its response to the Castleton issue while attempting to maintain security downtown for the holiday weekend. On St. Patrick’s Day of 2012, an armed teen shot four other young people on the downtown canal.