Indy police work to cool “hot zones” after 24 hours of violence

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INDIANAPOLIS – A group of police officers will focus on targeted areas to combat crime. Indianapolis Metropolitan police will redeploy 27 officers from the Homeland Security Division Traffic Branch. These motorcycle officers will be assigned to designated hotspots throughout the city.

Chief Rick Hite said the officers will make traffic stops focusing on people, places and activities contributing to crime. The announcement comes after the city was struck with nine shootings that kill four people during a 24-hour period.

“They’ve been out there quietly but we’re announcing that they’ll be assisting us. The traffic officers will be in those targeted hotspots for that purpose, to identify persons who are driving illegally and who may have illegal contraband in their vehicle,” said Hite.

The police department is also using additional overtime resources to shift officers into problem areas.

Among the dozens of officers working in the city’s hot zones is Officer Jose Navarro with IMPD South District. FOX59 went along with Officer Navarro as he patrolled through neighborhoods and responded to calls Monday evening.

Around 6:30 p.m., Navarro responded to a report of an assault. Two women who live a few homes apart had just gotten into a fight with one another and tempers were flaring out in the street.

“Apparently there has been some issues with the family down the way here,” he said as he ran a background check on one of the women involved.

After giving the two sides a warning to calm down and collecting evidence, Navarro and the other officers finished their investigation. As he left, Navarro expressed his fears that the relatives of the women may take matters into their own hands and become violent as early as that night.

“They’ve been here for so long, their families live here and sometimes their family members get so upset,” he said.

According to Hite, 73 percent of the homicides involve people who know each other. He said a small group of individuals causes most of the trouble.

“So we’re not talking about a large group of people, we’re talking about a small group of people who commit the same crimes over and over again. What we’re also seeing is they’re now taking young people and bringing them into the game and that’s a challenge for us. That’s a problem,” said Hite.

He is hoping hard work by his officers with the help of Homeland Security will bring some order.

“Together we gonna solve this, but it’s like the stock market… there are peaks and there are valleys in fighting crime,” said Hite.

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