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Haughville leaders ask Indianapolis officials for equal treatment

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — In the Indianapolis community of Haughville, crime and violence had been on the decline after a series of investments from the city in housing and infrastructure.

But, a recent spike in homicides has some business owners in the area on the near-west side concerned the city is putting resources in other areas. Since January, the Haughville area has recorded a dozen murders.

Longtime Haughville activist Olgen Williams said, “I have got seven homicides around my house in the last year and half. Where I live and sit on my porch, I’m concerned.”

Just one block to the south, a 19-year-old woman was murdered a little over a week ago, the same weekend that three people were murdered in the Broad Ripple neighborhood on the north side.

Robert Laster, a pastor, is surrounded by a group of Haughville business owners who believe the city is treating them differently because, they say, Haughvile does not have an entertainment district as Broad Ripple does.

“A life is a life whether it is in Haughville, Brightwood, Carmel, Fishers. A life is a life, and we want to get the same and we want to get the same acknowledgement, the same support, the same resources to help us right here in Haughville, ” said Laster, who is on a Haughville leadership council.

Those resources would include getting trash in the streets removed.

In the center of Haughville is a vacant lot with a hole in the ground. On Monday morning, the hole was filled with water and weeks of trash.

Later in the morning, four Department of Public Works employees filled two trucks with the trash they scooped out of the hole.

I-Team 8 was was told the hole will be filled with trash again within a week.

Williams said the trash is reflective of the attention the city gives Haughville. “Help the west side with resources. We need we got new businesses spending millions of dollars to come into our community, but businesses wouldn’t come into our community because they see the crime.”

In February 2019, I-Team 8 showed the efforts Democrat Mayor Joe Hogsett and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department were making to control crime in Haughville. The mayor and several members of the IMPD command staff walked the neighborhood as part of the mayor’s safety walks. Two weeks prior, federal agents had raided a house in the neighborhood, taking guns and drugs off the street.

I-Team 8 asked the mayor and IMPD to address the concerns in Haughville. They responded with a statement.

“IMPD has and will continue to patrol and protect every neighborhood in the city of Indianapolis. At the same time, the IMPD will stay adaptable to where and when violence occurs. Decisions on the deployment of resources are based on a number of factors including recent and amount of criminal activity in a specific area, number of resources already in the area, information on events or group gatherings, and threat assessments.

“Specifically in the Haughville neighborhood, IMPD Southwest District officers have made adjustments based on conversations with residents. That includes increased visibility with proactive patrols, which involves foot patrols and vehicle patrols at night with marker lights activated. Recently, IMPD deployed a trailer camera to Haughville to monitor a block party and the event went off without a hitch. IMPD has also invested other technology and resources in the neighborhood after it was requested by residents and community members.

“IMPD welcomes the opportunity to have continued conversations with Haughville residents and business owners.”