INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Complaints of violence, drugs and trash have plagued an Indianapolis staple for the last few months, but now, there is a possibility of change.
Businesses at the Indianapolis City Market said they have been complaining to the city about the trash and crime issues that have spiked since the COVID-19 pandemic started.
“It was heartbreaking. I mean to have my customers tell me that they were having feelings of not being safe,” said Michael Gomez.
Gomez owns Gomez Barbecue inside City Market and said customers have been too afraid to stop by. It wasn’t because of COVID-19, although he said that caused sales to drop 75% since March.
“We were seeing drug use, gambling, people just living here. And treating our grounds here at the market as their trash can pretty much. Their restrooms,” said Gomez.
According to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department public records, since March 2020 there have been 28 arrests or crimes reported at or and around the City Market. The crimes reported include rape, assault, battery, theft and trespassing.
In 2019 during the same time period, IMPD records show that there were only two crimes reported.
Businesses said they were fed up and spoke out, then last week, they said the city listened.
“We are seeing action and that’s what I have been asking for,” said Gomez.
Indianapolis city leaders said they are taking a holistic approach to public safety downtown. They are utilizing several resources including IMPD’s Community Engagement Unit, homeless outreach programs and the Narcotics Unit.
The city said they are working with the City Market leaders and have increased cleanup crews in the area and added portable toilets and hand washing stations.
“They come and power wash our plazas three times a week now. We have had 24 hours security, I believe it is 24 hours and we have seen a tremendous difference in the mornings here at City Market. It’s looking like it should,” said Gomez.
Gomez said this is a great start, but change won’t happen overnight. Still, he said City Market is a gem that’s been serving our community since the 1800’s and he’s urging customers to give it another chance.
“We need to let everybody know, hey, it’s City Market again and we need to make sure it stays that way,” said Gomez.