INDIANAPOLIS — Police and Indianapolis community leaders are looking to crack down on crime in the 46218 zip code.
This comes after two teenagers were killed in separate shootings that both occurred in a span of less than 24 hours.
So far this year, the city has seen 23 youth homicides, which shatters 2022’s record of 19.
“There’s been like four deaths right in this area,” said local resident Warren Bullock.
People like Bullock, who live in the Mills Crossing community near 38th Street and Sherman Avenue, say the violence in the area is getting out of hand.
Bullock said Wednesday night’s youth homicide in his neighborhood just adds to the problems the area is facing.
“It’s scary,” Bullock said. “Especially when it’s that close to home.”
Then, on Thursday night, another teen was killed by Hawthorne Place Apartments, which are located near 32nd Street and Emerson Avenue, which is also in the 46218 zip code.
The 46218 zip code covers from an area spanning from 38th Street to 16th Street, north to south.
And from roughly Dr. Andrew J. Brown Avenue to North Arlington Avenue.
It’s a section of Indy that has caught the attention of the city and IMPD, which is why police had stepped up patrols, even before Wednesday night’s shooting. Police say they have specifically been focusing on positive engagements with people who live in the area.
“We’ve done this over and over in the neighborhood where this tragedy happened,” said Commander Matthew Thomas with IMPD’s north district. “It was especially concerning when we’re seeing the same faces that we’ve been having these positive experiences with hurting. Our officers are hurting, we’re tired of it and this has to stop.”
Meanwhile, Tony Lopez, the Deputy Director of Violence Reduction with the Office of Public Health and Safety says the 46218 zip code has been on the city’s radar too.
“Looking at the data from homicides in general, the 46218 zip code is one of the highest zip codes that we need to be in when it comes to shots fired, non-fatal shootings and homicides,” Lopez said.
Using numbers from IMPD, Lopez said the data confirms the problem.
The 46218 zip code has seen 29 criminal homicides so far in 2023.
The next-highest are 46201 with 17 criminal homicides and 46235 with 15 criminal homicides so far this year.
It’s why OPHS is increasing its presence in 46218.
“We are data driven, and if the data shows there’s a problem, that’s where we need to be,” Lopez said.
Lopez added that OPHS is also dealing directly with problem apartment complexes by sending the city’s peacemaker program into the area.
Lopez says OPHS is even looking to hire extra support staff to help combat the growing issue the 46218 zip code is facing.
“We see that the youth is growing when it comes to homicides and non-fatal shootings, and we need to know and learn how to get into the prevention work,” Lopez said. “Hiring staff that is focused specifically on prevention work while Indy Peace with the VI’s and outreach workers are focusing on that intervention work.”
OPHS says they plan to have more internal meetings in the coming days to talk about what else can be done to stop this violence.