INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Indianapolis Metropolitan police officers assure everyone the downtown area is safe despite an uptick in shooting calls in 2019.
"We have had a few more shootings happen thus far this year than we did in 2018 which is really unfortunate, but it's not due to a lack of officers," said Downtown District Commander Phil Burton.
Burton said the streets of downtown Indy are heavily patrolled by officers. For example, many bars in the area have off-duty IMPD officers outside working alongside the bouncers. Plus, 24 more officers are working downtown on Friday and Saturday nights.
"Crime is actually down in the downtown, and we actually only represent about 3% of total crime in Indianapolis," Burton said. "So the proactive patrols that I have officers doing is actually working."
The "proactive patrols," which are a part of "beat policing," helped IMPD arrest 30-year-old Eric Middlebrook at the crime scene. He is accused of shooting and killing 33-year-old Jeffery Reed after a disturbance.
"The reason that our officers were there on the scene so quickly is because we have went to beat policing which allows officers to patrol a smaller area and so they can get to know their business residents as well as their neighborhood residents," Burton explained.
IMPD said the downtown area is separated into 4 beat areas over around 3.5 square miles. Police said they are also working with city leaders, clergy and the Indy Ten Point Coalition.
"We're working with individuals to come downtown and engage individuals, particularly unsupervised youth," Burton said.