INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The number of homeless people in Indianapolis is declining, according to the latest official count; but, there has been a noticeable increase in violence among the homeless population in some of the most popular areas of downtown.
A News 8 news crew ran into three men verbally threatening people on the street. They were throwing things and creating a general nuisance. News 8 was told such behavior is not an isolated event. It was hard to tell what or why the men were yelling; however, the language spoke volumes, and they seemed pretty serious about their threats, enough so that the police were called.
Conrad Piccirillo told News 8 he had just sat down for dinner and witnessed the entire scene and this is not the first time.
“Constantly. Yeah, it gets loud, and I think even listening to one of the police officers, they’re constantly shouting at each other, and, when I say constantly you would think it is all the time, it is not something that is part-time. It is not something that happens on a semi regular basis,” Piccirillo said.
There is an undeniable buzz around the Mass Ave cultural district. The paths of nearly every generation seem to cross here and, at times, in the worst way, according to Michael Swim, who said he’s been homeless for three years.
“Yeah, there is a lot of violence, a lot of scary violence,” Swim said.
News 8 found Swim tending to an injured friend, who after being robbed and beaten, received 14 stitches Tuesday night.
Swim said the bench closest to the Ann Dancing sculpture is a favorite among the homeless. It is the same bench where police arrested the three men and just a few feet from an outdoor dining where News 8 found Piccirillo.
“There’s the safety issue, and you are not sure, and, before you know it, you find yourself avoiding the area, and it is not good for business,” Piccirillo said.
Folks that live and work in the area say there has been an increase in police lately.
Mass Ave is expecting 50,000 people for the Pride Parade on Saturday morning.