INDIANAPOLIS — IMPD officers are looking at ways to reduce crime on the city’s near east side.
On Wednesday, the department held its first monthly public safety walk near the intersection of East 11th Street and North Olney Street.
“The goal is to get out there and meet some people,” said IMPD Chief Randal Taylor. “Let them know that IMPD is out wanting to meet them, get to know them, and listen to concerns they have about what’s going on in the area.”
IMPD said this neighborhood will eventually be included in a gunshot detection pilot program.
“Traditionally speaking, if you talk about hot spots in Indianapolis, 10th and Rural will usually rise to the list of known hot spots in the area,” said Commander Richard Riddle with IMPD’s East District. “That’s why these neighborhoods in particular – where we’re at today – were included in our gunshot detection pilot.”
A gunshot detection system is technology that detects gunfire in real time and allows police to get to shots fired incidents faster. IMPD said it has identified a roughly five-square mile area where different vendors will test out their gunshot detection system technology to see how effective it is before the city makes a permanent commitment.
“It’s unfortunate to hear that people who are deeply rooted in this community live in fear on a day to day because of gun violence,” said Commander Riddle. “We want to hear from the residents, hear what they know – what they’re seeing. Because, like I said earlier, we think that we know what the problems are but sometimes we don’t know because we don’t have that daily interaction.”
“It’s rough. I’m not going to lie to ya,” said resident Eric Memmer. “We hear [gunshots] cracking every night. Whether it be midnight, two or three o’clock in the morning. They’re cracking all around.”
Eric Memmer lives in the 1300 block of North Olney Street. He said it is reassuring to see police officers patrol his street and he thinks the new technology could add another layer of reassurance.
“I think, as a community, we have to do a little bit more helping. A little bit more policing ourselves,” said long-time resident Chuck Vallinger. “I know there’s only so much [police] can do and there’s only so many of them, but it’s really up to the community.”
Vallinger said there are a lot of guns, drugs, and Hoosiers battling addiction and homelessness in this neighborhood.
“You put it all together – it’s like the perfect storm for something bad, you know, and that’s what goes on here but it’s getting better,” said Vallinger. “If you ask me, am I scared to walk out my door? No.”
Vallinger said he is thankful police officers are making an effort to patrol the neighborhood.
“Just do more of this. Do more of this. Be present,” said Vallinger. “Not a lot happens when you present, you know. Just like roaches – turn a light on and everything goes away. Like, right now, it’s beautiful out here. But I guarantee you, from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., it’s going to go down around here.”