IMPD Sgt. Mike Kavanaugh wheeled his patrol car down East John Jay Drive in the Amber Woods Apartments Thursday afternoon.
“We’re not just hiding. We’re in here,” he said. “We want to make a difference for the good people that do live in here that are scared to talk, they’re scared to tell us who is committing those violent crimes.”
IMPD often responds to reports of shots fired on John Jay and John Marshal Drives at Amber Woods, sometimes leading officers to discover wounded and murdered victims.
“This apartment we have in front of us was one of the ones we had a shooting at. Its now vacant,” said Kavanaugh, pointing to the plywood that still covered the shattered front window of a two-floor townhouse. “There are a lot of good hardworking people in here. Its just that younger faction of people who are in this complex solely for crime. There’s no other reason for them to be in here beyond narcotics and firearms.”
IMPD is midway through a month-long surge of officers and resources into the apartment complex near 38th Street and Mitthoefer Road.
The surge is intended to send a law-and-order message through the community now that the weather is warming and visitors and residents are on the move.
“The last two or three weeks its been fairly quiet here. We haven’t had the amount of shots fired runs that we have had in the past,” said Kavanaugh. “We end up arresting people for violent crimes and they end up right back in here a couple days later and then that makes it very hard for us to continue to do that.”
Property managers have installed more security cameras and stepped up evictions of troublesome tenants.
Kavanaugh and his uniformed crew support undercover officers, federal agents and parole and probation officers who are not always spotted by the residents.
At one point recently, more than thirty outstanding arrest warrants came back to people listing Amber Woods as an address.
“We have recovered a couple guns. Yesterday one gun was reported stolen. The stop was actually made about a half mile from here and the guy had a gun that was actually stolen in Amber Woods,” said Kavanaugh. “We’re finding more and more stolen guns these days than we have in the past.”
Friday morning IMPD officers and federal agents will be knocking on doors throughout the complex, handing out information and advising residents as to what they can do to protect their own community.