Homelessness population, crime and more remain concerns for those in downtown Indy

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Making downtown Indianapolis a safer place to live, work and visit was the goal of a public meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Leaders with IMPD met with downtown residents and business owners to discuss their concerns about crime in downtown.

Many who attended the discussion say the city’s homeless population is a large cause of the everyday crime they see downtown, but that is far from their only concern.

While some high profile crimes, including shootings, stabbings and large scale fights, have drawn the headlines, the downtown residents and workers say constant smaller crimes, including public intoxication, drug deals and simple trespassing by the homeless population is a more persistent and frustrating problem.

Leaders with IMPD say they do not have the ability to eliminate the homeless population in downtown, but in recent weeks they have made concerted efforts to clear out large scale homeless camps under some downtown overpasses.

When it comes to intoxication, the IMPD also needs the help of businesses.  For example, they say bar owners have to be responsible for how they serve patrons and provide security during weekend nights.

Overall, officials with the IMPD say public safety in downtown remains a top priority.

“While we are as a police department dealing with surface issues and making sure crime is down and people feel safe downtown, we’re also looking at what the root causes are that drive the disorderly behavior and the crime downtown,” said IMPD Deputy Chief of Operations Chad Knecht.

Police say Tuesday’s meeting wasn’t the first and won’t be the last as they continue to work with leaders downtown to improve public safety.

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