Ex-convict steps up, inspires cleanup effort in Indianapolis neighborhood

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By Liz Gelardi

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Oct. 17, 2014) - Police went door to door in the Martindale Brightwood neighborhood in an effort to turn the area around.

IMPD teamed up with social workers to canvass the streets. They asked residents about issues with crime and vacant homes. Social workers filled out a questionnaire to connect those residents with various services.

The idea for a neighborhood blitz started when an ex-convict expressed concerns about the area. He returned to the neighborhood after he got out of prison where he served nine years for robbery. The ex-con told his parole officer how his neighborhood changed while he was locked up. The parole officer encouraged the man to take action.

"I mean he just asked me what I'm doing about the situation if I don't like it. If you don't like it you have to do something about it," said the parolee.

Police officers work with re-entry cases through the Indianapolis Parole Accountability Team.

"When we can get the parolees to have a vested interest then we're like one leg up in trying to really have an effect in turning these communities around," said IMPD Officer Larry Stargel.

The neighborhood is hosting a cleanup at Washington Park on October 25 beginning at 9 a.m. It will be followed by a cookout at 1p.m. The park is located at 30th and LaSalle.

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