INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department received reports of two robberies committed on the downtown canal Saturday night, one of which was allegedly committed by a 15-year-old girl.
A trio of teenagers told police they were robbed of a purse and cellphone at gunpoint on the Canal Walk below West Michigan Street shortly after 11 p.m.
Heidi Frye and Riley Leonard were walking their dog along the canal Sunday afternoon and speculating about renting an apartment in the area when they learned of the robbery.
“It makes me worried,” said Leonard, “especially if I’m gonna consider living down here. It makes me think twice.”
“I’d be a bit more cautious,” said Frye. “I definitely would not feel very safe walking around.”
IMPD touts downtown as one of its safest districts considering the tens of thousands of people who either work or live in the Mile Square.
On St. Patrick’s Day weekend in 2012, five teenagers were shot on the canal by a young man with a gun investigators said his mother delivered to him after a phone call to his northside home.
During a burial service at Floral Park Cemetery on the westside Saturday for a 20-year-old man shot to death during a recent home invasion robbery, witnesses told police several teenagers at the gravesite were armed.
A traffic stop several blocks away which yielded a handgun and semi-automatic rifle, led to the arrests of two 16-year-olds.
They are being charged with a misdemeanor of a child in possession of a firearm.
A community activist who works with young people said the robberies, gun recovery and arrests in locations normally set aside for peaceful family functions in the spring indicate the likelihood of trouble among Indianapolis teens this summer.
“It makes you wary more than anything because we ready to hit the summer,” said James Wilson, Founder of Circle Up Indy. "We know what takes effect in the summer, unfortunately, and you think about these young people running around with weapons. Why do they think they need them? What are they running from?
“It gives you a clear visual of what we can possibly be looking at. We can’t really predict the future absolutely, but if this is the routine starting now in the summer, and the spring hasn’t really took strong effect yet, it makes you wonder what’s really going to happen during those warm seasons when everybody comes out, everybody’s gathering. Do people feel safe gathering? Do people feel like coming out if they have to worry about their safety?”
Wilson said he will hold his annual Circle Up Indy Peace Festival in Douglass Park June 22nd.
Mayor Joe Hogsett has said the best alternative to curb summer teen violence is a job.
In the months to come, Hogsett hopes to find at least three thousand summer jobs for young people when the school year is concluded.