INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Law enforcement and city officials were out on Tuesday in an effort to build community relationships as part of National Night Out.
It is a decades-old tradition across the country, but this year’s National Night Out held significant weight for Indianapolis officials as the city is in the midst of a crisis when it comes to violent crime. They say it is especially important to create trust within their respective districts right now.
A total of 80 events were held citywide in recognition of National Night Out with multiple block parties in each Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department district.
“So we are hoping that events like this will encourage the younger kids you see out here never to go down that path and for those who have, we are hoping that really they will be impacted in such a way that they will turn themselves in and let’s just get this taken care of,” IMPD Chief Randal Taylor said.
With the rising violent crime rate facing Indianapolis, police officers and city leaders are working to create trust within the communities they serve.
“I think maybe people will feel safer to get to know more of their police officers and they are not strangers, like more interacting with us than not friendly,” Heather Thomas, who lives in the southwest district where one block party was held, said.
The hope is that with trust will come a community-based effort to curb crime.
“If you are going to look back at stats, you will realize that a lot of our success has come at witnesses that have stepped up and said, ‘I saw this or I saw that or I know this person, I know that person,'” Taylor said.
Additionally, there is an ongoing effort to get those who are repeat offenders of violent crime off the street.
“The vast overwhelming majority of residents of the city of Indianapolis are peaceful and safe, protecting individuals. We are really talking about probably a universe of five to six to seven hundred people who are giving us a black eye,” Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said.
Hogsett says he plans to address crime at greater length on Monday when he introduces the city’s new budget.