INDIANAPOLIS — As violent crime in Indianapolis reaches record levels, community organizations and businesses are stepping up to try and help prevent it.
One of those ways includes a new partnership between the Skateland roller-skating rink and IMPD.
In April of this year, a 5-year-old was shot at the rink on the city’s northwest side. In 2019, a 19-year-old was gunned down in the rink’s parking lot. Those incidents led to the rink rethinking its purpose.
“We just wanted to bridge the gap between the community and the police station,” Skateland’s Regional Manager Alexandria Wallace said.
Wallace said the rink decided it wanted to be part of the push to curb the escalating violence in Indianapolis. They reached out to IMPD to see how they could help and the answer was providing a place for kids to go.
“We’ve got to get the kids something to do. when i have a lot of time on their hands they tend to get into trouble,” Wallace said. “We have to create programs we have to create opportunities we have to create something for these kids to do so that they can stay off the street so they won’t be involved in gang activity so they won’t be involved in domestic violence.“
Wallace gave IMPD officers 300 golden tickets to hand out to kids and teens in the community. The ticket gets the holder in to the rink for free with the hope of keeping them busy.
“We like to see the children have something to do to occupy their time so that they can do something fun and positive instead of turn to criminal activity,” IMPD officer Ryan Deakin said.
Deakin is an community resource officer with the department. He says this partnership is also an opportunity to connect with the city’s youth.
“We feel that it would help build a better atmosphere and it would show that you and her you can trust the police and we want to build on that,” Deakin said.
This partnership was in part brokered by the organizers behind Cease-Fire Indy. Organizers Della Brown and Ron Gee plan to hold weekly skate nights at Skateland next month to give kids and teens a place to hang out and stay out of trouble.
“By us building these relationships they’ll be more receptive to let us know what it is that they need so we’ll be able to try and point them in the right directions,” Brown said.
The skate nights will be every Monday night in December.
Brown and Gee said they will have community resources available for kids and their families and they hope to partner with other businesses in the future.
IMPD says it hopes to do the same.
“We are looking to build partnerships with all of the local businesses because I believe that that will cut down on criminal behavior and that partnership is important for the community,” Deakin said.