INDIANAPOLIS — With the busy summer months right around the corner, IMPD is working with local bar owners to prevent any outbreaks of violence in downtown’s bar district.
The area has seen numerous incidents of fighting and shootings over the years.
In January of this year, police were called to the 200 block of S. Meridian Street for a report of a fight inside a bar. Officers say the fight moved outside, and one person fired shots in a parking lot.
Last summer, a shootout in the bar district sent bullets flying in to nearby car and apartment windows. At the time, witnesses reported to IMPD that they saw at least two, maybe three, men shooting at each other in a parking lot.
“We do want people to go there but again we want them to go there in a safe manner,” Downtown Indy Inc. President Sherry Seiwert said.
Seiwert said at least two new establishments will be moving in to the area in the near future. With summer approaching Seiwert said everyone needs to focus on making the area safer and keeping the business coming.
“If people don’t feel comfortable and safe and wanting to go out and enjoy themselves, we will lose those patrons,” Seiwert said.
With that in mind, IMPD said it has increased its communication with local bar owners and managers.
“We’ve met with many of the bars and are getting good responses back from those bar owners as well as the bar managers,” Capt. Scott Hessong said. “Because they want a safe environment as well.”
The department uses numerous officers in an off-duty capacity to patrol the district Thursday through Sunday. Capt. Hessong says his officers have taken 26 guns off the street so far and believes their revised approach is working.
“We’re trying to tackle this more as a team environment to make sure that again people can come downtown, have fun, but also be safe at the same time,” Capt. Hessong said.
Recently, Marion County officials have cracked down on two bars in the district. Taps and Dolls recently had its liquor license revoked and Tiki Bob’s had its liquor license renewed for only one year.
IMPD, along with Downtown Indy Inc. said it hopes the crackdown will help solve some of the problems the area has seen.
“If we can improve upon the activity that occurs there, the negative activity, then those resources could be utilized somewhere else,” Seiwert said.
IMPD will continue to have bi-weekly meetings with bar owners to make sure everyone is on the same page and knows what is expected.
The department said it will continue to adjust the number of patrols in the bar district depending on crowd sizes and special events.