INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Neighbors living near the Irvington Plaza area are sick of seeing crime in their neighborhood, and now they are taking matters into their own hands.
A group is putting together a neighborhood watch with the hope of limiting crime.
“I started referring to this area as the wild west because can not have an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer sitting here 24/7," Janet Montes said of her neighborhood.
Just last week, a 70-year-old man was killed within minutes of the plaza, and another person was shot and killed just a block away. The recent stretch of violence caused Montes to pursue the watch.
“We’ve got a lot of strange happenings that take place in the plaza, and we’d like to see some of those strange happenings stop," Montes said.
Over the past decade, the plaza has become increasingly vacant, and the city is pushing hard for a developer to take over the location. It's expected to have a stop on the upcoming Blue Line. In the meantime, watch leaders want to make change now.
"Before Marsh moved out, there was lots of activity here with people still being in this area," Manuel Aguilar said of Irvington Plaza.
Aguilar operates a successful neighborhood watch near Atherton South Drive and is coming on to help Montes run the watch.
“We had a house that was pretty much a McDonald's drive through all hours of the day and night, crime coming in," Aguilar said describing his neighborhood before his watch took over.
The group of neighbors began putting out watch flyers and using social media to connect.
“The neighbors you can see from your front porch are the neighbors you need to contact first," Aguilar said.
Eventually, IMPD deemed the homeowners an official neighborhood watch, which included marked signs in their neighborhood warding off criminals.
So far, the Irvington Plaza area watch has 17 members who can become block captains for their immediate neighborhoods. They are looking for anyone willing to join. If you want to be a part of it, you can reach out to them on their Irvington Neighborhood Crime Watches Facebook page.