Crime rate falls as local communities step up security measures

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– Just-released Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) statistics from the first half of 2018 show violent crime dropped 8.5 percent from January until June of last year, when compared with 2017.

Last year, there were 5,402 violent crimes reported during the first six months as opposed to 5,903 during the same period of the year before. Those numbers reflect a trend of a slight decrease in annual violent crime reports that began in 2016, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

While Indianapolis set a new record for murder last year, almost all other crimes across the board were down for the first six months.

Reported property crimes dropped by almost 1,000, burglaries were off by more than 17 percent and larceny-theft reports decreased by 245.

All those categories continued annual trends that also began in 2016.

On the west side of Indianapolis, in a place the residents call “Haughville, USA,” neighbors said the numbers on paper are reflected on safer streets.

“For one thing it’s the lighting,” said Jason Ward as he stood at the corner of Haugh and Walnut Streets and looked at his neighbors’ properties. “It’s the cameras that people are having in their houses and on the outside of their houses. The people feel more freer to go down to Kroger. They feel like they can down to 10th Street and walk with their families.

“They’re coming out to talk about it. They’re coming out to see why this had never been done before, why nobody took a stand to try to do this.”

Anecdotal proof of a more peaceful Haughville is the recent opening of the Community Laundromat at Walnut and Warman Streets, complete with exterior lighting and surveillance cameras that illuminate and monitor the formerly dark corner.

“You know it’s a blessing, it’s really a blessing,” said Sue Ward as she walked toward the refurbished building, “to have this new laundromat here because the neighbors had nowhere to go.”

Across the street is a former two-story tavern the laundromat owners have painted and outfitted with lights and cameras in anticipation of opening a day care on the site.

“It’s not all about the police and the mayor, they can only do so much,” admitted Ward. “We have to come out here and get together and see what we can do for one another.”

Mayor Hogsett and IMPD Roach will have an opportunity to see that corner of Haughville themselves Wednesday afternoon during the monthly Public Safety Walk beginning at two o’clock at 702 North Haugh Street.

The stroll will begin in the shadows of the Concord Eagle Creek Homes, an Indianapolis Housing Agency property, which neighbors credit with beginning the turnaround in their community 20 years ago when a former public housing apartment complex was torn down and replaced.

“The community is starting to recognize that they have a great neighborhood and they want to keep it that way so they’re really beginning to communicate a lot more,” said Robert Hawthorne, Executive Director of the Westside Community Development Corporation, which is tasked with acquiring and rehabilitating distressed properties in Haughville.  “We have a couple properties on this block and rehab on some rental units and also doing some new construction. We’re gonna do about sixty units on some rehab on some rental properties. We have scheduled about seven units of housing and are looking to acquire more lots as we move forward.”

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