Business owners urge people to visit the Canal Walk, just not after midnight

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Business owners along the Canal Walk hope that talking about safety during business hours, and even a little later into the night, encourages people to visit this popular spot. Unfortunately, recent crimes, including the fatal shooting of a young mother and the fatal shooting of a14-year-old who police said was attempting to rob someone, have made people apprehensive.

“The Canal is completely safe,” Jeff Hutson insists. “It is completely safe during the hours of business that we’re all here. I don’t suggest coming down to the Canal between midnight and 5 a.m.”

Hutson owns the Old World Gondoliers which have added beauty and adventure to the canal for years. He reminds people the recent crimes have happened after 2:00 a.m.

The concern over crime created a “perfect storm” of sorts for businesses which are already trying to stay afloat amid COVID19.

“The most we could do, if everybody came, is make about 25% of our business that we would normally make,” Hutson explained. “I’m okay with that. I have to look at things in a hopeful way and know that people understand that everybody needs support.”

Hutson said the season essentially was cut in half which is concerning for businesses that rely on seasonal visitors. Doug Crook, co-owner and operator of Fresco Italian Cafe on the Canal agrees it has been challenging.

“It’s definitely had an impact on us,” Crook said. “We’re not seeing the foot traffic that maybe we’ve seen in the past. Kind of a perfect storm in a way.”

Police have added security cameras and plan to increase patrols, especially during the overnight hours.

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