Police, downtown Indy business owners prep for possible unrest after election

Crime

INDIANAPOLIS — Businesses in downtown Indianapolis are preparing for the reaction to Election Day results with a lot of talk about potential unrest across the country. 

Monday afternoon, the sound of drills echoed throughout the streets of downtown as nuts and bolts hold the board together. Business owners hope to prevent the damage that came from May’s unrest from reoccurring.

“We were devastated back in the end of May, first of June. And that took almost until the middle of July before we got the store straightened out,” said Greg Bires, owner of Windsor Jewelry.

They weren’t the only ones. We went by Jack’s Donuts on West Market Street before noon where they weren’t sure if they’d board up. By 2 p.m., the decision was made.

“We just can’t afford it. We can’t keep rebuilding and rebuilding and rebuilding. It’s just easier for us to just board it up, bite the bullet with the expenses and just do it,” Chris Karnavas, owner of Jack’s Donuts.

Five months after May’s unrest, both of these owners, and others, are still on edge after thousands of dollars in damages. This time, the concern surrounds the results of the presidential election.

“I don’t understand why this election is so different than any other election we’ve been through that it’s become now they’re threatening to vandalize our property,” said Karnavas.

Business owners are doing what they can while police are also making adjustments.

“I can tell you that we’re taking every precautionary measure that we can to make sure that this is, you know, a nice, peaceful election process for everybody,” said IMPD Homeland Security Commander Tom Sellas.

All IMPD off days have been canceled, allowing more officers to be on the streets. The emergency operations center will be partnering with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Indiana State Police, FBI, and election officials. 

“So we kind of have a good overview of not only what’s going here within the city, but the state and the country and just keeping track of what’s going on during the election process,” said Commander Sellas.

Business owners say the boards are to keep people away, but behind them, normal business is still taking place.

“We’re going to be open, and this is going to ensure that we will be open and the store won’t be disrupted again,” said Bires.

Regardless of the results of the election, everyone is on standby while hoping things remain calm.

“I think we just all need to stay calm and get through this, that’s it. And we all just need to get along,” said Karnavas.

Some downtown businesses say they will be boarding up Tuesday morning. Others have already taken their safety measures a step further by assisting employees and closing early.

We did reach out to the Mayor Joe Hogsett’s office, but he did not answer questions about his plans. Instead, they deferred us to plans IMPD has in place. 

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