INDIANAPOLIS — Even though Michael Anderson, 41, was found shot to death Sunday in the 4000 block of Stratford Court, marking the seventh homicide on that street in a little over two years, police said 2023 has been more peaceful in the Towne & Terrace community on Indianapolis’ east side.
”Since the beginning of the year, we’ve seen a drastic decline in the crime that has occurred in Towne & Terrace,” said Major Michael Leepper, acting commander of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department East District. ”The officers who are working that beat are getting intel information from our analysts, from our proactive organizations that are looking to see, from our proactive teams to see what they’re looking for specifically with locations, from vehicles and from persons.”
Towne & Terrace and its neighboring community along the west side of Brentwood Drive are plagued with an overwhelming number of abandoned and shuttered townhomes and apartments.
The City of Indianapolis owns 106 of the nearly 200 units as it attempts to acquire as many empty and derelict properties as possible to demolish dangerous buildings.
”We do have permission from the HOA to demolish one building that is owned in its entirety by the City,” said Aryn Schounce, chief policy officer of the Department of Metropolitan Development. ”This is consistent with the City’s plans overall to make sure that we are boarding, mowing, maintaining our properties, cleaning up illegal dumping, and if a building is in disrepair that we would move forward with the demolition to just insure public safety.”
Last fall, Mayor Joe Hogsett announced the City had dedicated $5.4 million to the reclamation of Towne & Terrace and its adjacent neighborhood. Thus far, $300,000 has been spent on maintenance, and the City attended its first meeting as a member of the Homeowners Association in January.
“We were able to vote on a board president who is an owner/occupant which in compliance with the bylaws of the HOA,” said Schounce. ”I think we’re hopeful that having owner occupants represented on that board will have individuals who have a vested experience in terms of living in that complex day-to-day to vote on the issues in compliance with the experience of the other individuals who are living there as well.”
One resident who said he was too afraid to speak on camera told FOX59 that the City needs to do a better job of informing neighbors of progress in their community.
The City has installed four new streetlights along Brentwood Drive and is awaiting HOA approval to erect more lights on the property.
City employees have also surveyed the community to assess the needs of neighbors.
“They may need assistance in navigating things like finding affordable childcare; it could be finding things enrolling them in the Indy Rents program, as an example,” said Schounce.
More community meetings are scheduled this year as the City firms up a demolition date for the building it controls.