Residents, police meet to discuss violence in Butler-Tarkington neighborhood

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (October 19, 2015) – Residents in a north side neighborhood are taking action to put a stop to increasing violent crimes.

The Butler Tarkington Neighborhood Association held an emergency meeting with representatives from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Monday night. Chief Rick Hite was in attendance at the standing-room only event.

There have been four homicides in the area since August. The latest victim was found in an alley last week.

“This used to be a really, really nice neighborhood,” said long-time resident Joyce Zogbo. ” Not anymore. You’re just lucky if you walk down the street and  no one bothers you.”

Calls for action increasing since the death of a 10-year-old last month. Deshaun Lee Swanson was murdered during a drive-by shooting.

“Anytime we have a death in our community that is tragic,” said IMPD North District Commander Chris Bailey. “But when it reaches the point where you’re killing a 10-year -old young man, the gloves are off even in the criminal world they will say you’ve overstepped your boundaries.”

During the meeting, IMPD officers shared details about their efforts in the north side neighborhood.  Officers spent almost 650 hours of overtime patrolling the streets since August.  The department reports they made 73 arrests during that same time-frame.

“It hasn’t been this old school approach to policing where we throw out this large net and hope to catch a big fish.” Bailey said. “We are very specific in our patrols. We are looking at the people, places, and activities  that are contributing to the violence and the disorder.”

The groups that met Monday night came up with several possible strategies to combat the violence. The neighborhood association wants to set up at time to walk the streets with IMPD in order to assess lighting issues on each block. Some residents are pushing for more youth community programs to keep kids out of trouble. Plus, police are considering creating a narcotics unit specifically for the north side.

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