Indy crime watch groups offer free, inclusive way for all to get involved with public safety

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INDIANAPOLIS — Every Indianapolis resident can play a role in fighting back against the public safety crisis the city finds itself in, for yet another year. Officers, community leaders and grassroots organizations cannot stress it enough – it takes everyone.

David Varie leads the relaunch of the Neighborhood Crime Watch for the Binford Redevelopment and Growth, or BRAG, which covers 40 neighborhoods.

“Some of them had longtime, very active crime watch programs,” Varie explained. “Some of them had dormant programs, some of them have never had a program.”

Varie hopes people across the city will be proactive in reaching out to IMPD and starting a block club.

“I think we can engage neighbors and sometimes a car being stolen in your neighborhood is enough to engage people to restart their crime watch,” Varie said.

It’s crimes similar to this that led John Boggs to start a crime watch program at Castleton Estates after the neighborhood experienced five burglaries within a year. A decade later, he said each of their 23 block captains has contact info for each of their residents, which is kept confidential.

“We have cell phone numbers, we have email addresses, we also have over 65% of ICE numbers, in case of emergencies for these people,” Boggs explained.

Crime Prevention Specialist Gerardo Becerra with IMPD Community Relations says crime watch block clubs can be implemented citywide. There must be buy-in from at least 50% of the neighborhood and IMPD needs a membership roster.

Becerra said watching out for each other is key.

“Your community is immediately going to be safer,” Becerra said. “The reason why is simple. You just are lowering the opportunities for criminals to act up in your communities.”

Those interested in creating a crime watch block club should reach out to the crime prevention specialist in their district.

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