INDIANAPOLIS — One Indianapolis neighborhood celebrated this week after making strides in combatting violent crime in the area.
The Highland Vicinity Neighborhood on the city’s north side has been working with Indy police and community activists to reduce the number of homicides.
Neighbors like Cecelia Whitefield, whose husband is president of the neighborhood association, call the area home. Whitefield has lived in Highland Vicinity for quite some time.
“We moved back to my family home in 1987,” she said. “So we’ve been here over 35 years.”
In that time, Whitfield said she has seen a lot of change.
“When we came back, there was a lot of drug activity and gun violence,” she said. “Killings and different things like that.”
Whitfield said things have shifted for the better.
“There’s a lot of activities, positive things that are going on in our area that’s helping to reduce the crime,” she said.
One of those positive things the neighborhood has cited is the Indy TenPoint Coalition.
“We’re in Highland Vicinity 4 nights a week,” said Rev. Charles Harrison with the TenPoint Coalition.
Harrison’s group patrols the neighborhood. He said the TenPoint Coalition has helped establish a positive presence.
“I certainly think it’s a deterrent,” Harrison said. “I think when you look at what the neighborhood association is doing in trying to address root causes of the violence, the presence of IMPD and our presence, I think it deters.”
The last homicide to happen in the heart of Highland Vicinity happened on Aug. 2, 2016, when 27-year-old Cullen Hubbard was shot and killed, according to the TenPoint Coalition. That marks 7 consecutive years without a homicide within the center of the neighborhood.
Our records do show at least 2 homicides right on the edge of the neighborhood happened over the last 4 years, one on Meridian Street in 2020 and another on 30th Street in 2019.
Rev. Harrison said the last 7 years have marked a milestone though. Crime in the heart of Highland Vicinity over the last 7 years has dropped.
“It’s probably one of the safer neighborhoods in the city and it’s because of the work the residents have done in this neighborhood to bring that about they just didn’t accept the violence,” he said.
The TenPoint coalition said it also tries to engage Indianapolis youth to help them steer their life in a positive direction.