Nora neighbors to talk about crime issues with prosecutor, public safety director

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By Russ McQuaid

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 17, 2014)-- A pair of home invasion robberies last fall shook residents on Indianapolis' north side.

The suspects, two of whom appear in court this week, traveled north along Meridian Street from south of 38th Street to allegedly commit crimes so brutal one investigator said it looked like the robbers were getting off on outdoing one another in violence.

The terror wrought on their neighbors while undoubtedly on the minds of attendees at a forum to discuss gangs, drugs and violence at St. Luke's Methodist Church at 100 West 86th Street at 7:30 p.m.

Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry, Public Safety Director Troy Riggs and an IMPD gang and narcotics investigator will address the questions and worries of the residents.

"As a community I think we need to be discussing, ‘How do we break the cycle?’, because clearly that is what we are seeing,” said Curry. “We are seeing a cycle that has tended to expand year after year.

“This pattern has developed over the years and now we're three and four generations into the cycle of glamorizing a certain lifestyle and, as that lifestyle is acted out, this is the result. We have just random acts of violence increasing throughout our community as well as other urban communities.”

Residents of another neighborhood miles away know what it’s like to look out their front window and see violence every night.
The former Phoenix Apartments, renamed Keystone North, wracks up hundreds of police calls for assistance every year.
Deshaun Robinson, 22, is a rarity at the north side complex. He has a high school diploma and a job. He doesn’t have any kids or a criminal record.

“It’s very hard,” he says, walking along sidewalks as single-mothers and unemployed residents stream by. “You got to get up and you got to hustle every day. Ain’t no handouts given so you got to get up and do what you can to get the money.”
Robinson was raised by grandparents who would not allow him to give up.

“I had dropped out of North Central for about a year or two the year I was supposed to graduate. Then I went down there to the Excel Center by the Meadows, just constantly hard work. Two years I had to stay for constantly hard work. The next thing I know, I am walking across the stage with my high school diploma for Core 40.”

Robinson said even other dropouts in the neighborhood support him as he walks the straight path that will hopefully lead him away from the Phoenix.

“Every chance I get I always talk to my younger peers. ‘I don’t want you to do this and I don’t want you to do that. Go to school and make something of yourself,’ because that’s how the older people taught me. You go to school. You make something of yourself. Ain’t nothing out here in these streets. The streets don’t love you.”

Robinson felt so strongly about appearing on Fox 59 News in the hope that his story would be an inspiration to other Indianapolis youth, or perhaps allay the fears of neighbors like those meeting in Nora, that he took off two hours from his warehouse job, and the $25 he could have made, to talk.

“I’m the type that ain’t never going to give up.”