INDIANAPOLIS — IMPD’s numbers show multiple crime categories across Indianapolis are down this year. While statistics are helpful, they don’t always indicate whether neighbors feel safe in their community.
Christian Park neighbors tell us they’re using volunteer resources to hopefully remove the temptation to commit crimes in their area. They’re hopeful these efforts will work in other Indy communities too.
“Just having that community involvement and people always being alert,” Tabitha Barnett, a community organizer, said. “I can’t stress that part enough.”
Barnett works day and night to prevent crime in the Christian Park neighborhood, an area of about 2,000 houses on the east side. Back in the Spring, we highlighted Christian Park’s reformed crime watch group primarily organized on social media.
“I’m actually really happy to have 473 members currently,” Barnett said. “I’d love to see it grow a lot more.”
Barnett also manages the Twin Aire Crime Watch page too, and encourages people in that neighborhood to join. The communities use the free tool as a virtual meeting place where they post photos and openly communicate what neighbors see and hear.
“I’ve had numerous people report to me in my inbox and say, ‘hey I think this is going on, any chance you can come by,'” Barnett explained.
Barnett usually does stop by. She is one of between 15 and 20 patrol volunteers keeping watch over a smaller section of her neighborhood, alerting police and other people to suspicious activity.
“Say something happened at 2 p.m., we’re going to have them patrolling from noon to four,” Barnett said.
The neighbors also know where the crimes are happening, down to the street. That’s because Steve Terry checks the IMPD reports daily and analyzes the data frequently.
“Then in our area, I break them down into quadrants, times, locations,” Terry explained. “If you have enough statistics, you can kind of predict where crime is going to happen.”
While IMPD could not verify Terry’s numbers, his recent report from the start of October to the end shows a decrease in arsons, assaults, thefts, burglaries and robberies for his area.
“I think the criminals are aware that we’re out patrolling, they know it’s going on with us watching them,” Terry said.
Starting a Community Crime Watch
Besides organizing a Facebook page and patrol volunteers to drive around the neighborhood, Barnett also suggests someone volunteering as the crime watch representative and primarily managing the group. And, taking part in the community meetings.