INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- Key to Mayor Joe Hogsett and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's (IMPD) neighborhood crime fighting strategy is residents stepping up to help heal communities from within.
Those community crime fighters were honored on the afternoon before the city turns out for “America’s Night Out Against Crime.”
Residents from 140 Marion County communities are expected to participate in cookouts, block parties and marches to show their support for IMPD and each other.
“If we’ve asked them to do something to help out, we’ve reached out to people to say, ‘Hey, do you have some influence on some of the people that are involved in these things or their family or their friends to help them understand that violence is not the answer to a lot of the situations that they find themselves in?’” said IMPD East District Commander Roger Spurgeon, who presides over one of the most violent areas of the city where 16 homicides have been recorded on just two patrol beats since the start of the year.
The 2018 East District Crime Fighter of the Year is Kartik Patel, a motel owner on the eastside.
“Mr. Patel, he’s emblematic of the cooperation we’ve been looking forward to and getting on the east side of town specifically from a variety of different individuals and groups as well,” said Spurgeon. “There’s been times when people maybe they’ve been victims or witnesses of a crime and he owns a series of hotels, he’s been able to put them up for a period of time because they may have been fearful of retaliation.”
Patel was joined by his family at the awards ceremony and reconfirmed his commitment to residents of the east side.
“When they really need someplace to live in case of emergency and they don’t really know some people and have no place to go I think they do deserve to support them and so that’s why I stand by with them and will continue to do that,” said Patel. “I learn from my own customers because they give me the business and they’re doing daily business fighting against their circumstances and 80-90 percent of the people that I see they are really good people.”
There have been 93 homicides in Indianapolis so far this year, putting the city on track to beat last year’s record total.
Spurgeon said he thinks the toll would be much worse if not for the connections forged between IMPD and the neighbors across the city.