INDIANAPOLIS — A man is behind bars accused of murder following a deadly stabbing in downtown Indianapolis.

Around 1 a.m. along South Illinois Street, police said a dispute between several people ended with one man stabbed to death along the sidewalk. The Marion County Coroner’s Office identified the victim as 50-year-old Cornelius DeWayne Coleman.

“This incident that occurred was between people that knew each other. This was not a random act,” said Sgt. Genae Cook with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

Police followed up by using cameras in the area to quickly track down the suspect, 30-year-old Nicholas Radford, to a nearby parking garage where he was arrested. He is being held without bond on a preliminary charge of murder.

Booking photo of Nicholas Radford

“Technology is helping police officers today be able combat crime,” said Cook.

That’s why city leaders point to technology upgrades as one of several strategies for improving public safety in downtown this year.

Earlier this month, Mayor Joe Hogsett highlighted a $3.5 million partnership with Downtown Indy Inc., which will enhance public safety, cleanliness, and homeless outreach efforts in the downtown area, beginning in early 2023.

Public safety investments include increased overtime shifts for IMPD bike patrol officers and a boost to crime-fighting technology, with three new mobile security cameras to be connected to IMPD monitoring software.

In addition, small to mid-sized businesses will be able to take advantage of a grant program aimed at increasing participation in IMPD’s b-link camera system. Currently, IMPD has 128 downtown camera views, which include the b-link program and 22 license plate readers. The grant program is expected to launch in early 2023.

Also beginning in 2023, the Office of Public Health and Safety will pilot the city’s first-ever clinician-led response team downtown. The team will operate 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

The Department of Public Works (Indy DPW) will designate a new, downtown-focused crew for cleanliness and maintenance. Indy DPW will also deploy a new downtown strategy aimed at regular maintenance of alleys, sidewalk power washing, and targeting of other problem areas.  Additionally, the city will increase the number of trash receptacles to reduce the amount of litter.

“We’re fighting every single day to stay alive, to stay open,” said George Stergiopoulos, owner of Giorgio’s Pizza.

Stergiopoulos said many downtown businesses have struggled to survive since the pandemic began. He supports anything the city can do to enhance downtown safety and bring more people back to the downtown area.

“When it comes to public safety, it is the city’s number one job as far as I’m concerned,” said Stergiopoulos.

The stabbing marks the first homicide in downtown since last September, when a taxi driver was murdered on East 11th Street.

As the numbers show, before the pandemic the city averaged just two or three homicides a year in downtown. Those numbers went up dramatically in 2020 and 2021, before falling slightly in 2022.

“Just like the city, our crime rate in downtown is going down. It only accounts for 5% of violence in the entire city of Indianapolis. Our downtown is a safe place for people to come,” said Cook.