This piece is part of our INDYtoday Q+A series. Do you know someone we should interview? Nominate them here.
With Hoosiers preparing to head downtown for fun holiday events like Circle of Lights, Downtown Indy, Inc. is ensuring all locals can enjoy the festivities while staying safe.
We asked Kim Evans, Director of Safety and Security with Downtown Indy, Inc., to give us the details on what safety measures have been added.
Q. What do you want Hoosiers to know about Downtown Indy?
A: We want to remind folks that downtown is a thriving place to work, play, eat, shop, visit, and enjoy what is known as the safest district in the county according to IMPD. Downtown Indy, Inc., along with local community leaders, have been hard at work to ensure residents, visitors, and the downtown workforce feel safe as they rediscover Downtown Indianapolis.
Q: Can you tell us how safety is being addressed?
A: Beyond the coverage already provided by IMPD, Downtown Indy, Inc. funds 28 off-duty police officers who patrol on foot and bicycle throughout the Mile Square.
In addition, we employ Safety Ambassadors, civilians who work alongside our officers. The Safety Ambassadors provide positive, street level engagement, wayfinding, and serve as an extra set of eyes and ears to our officers.
Downtown Indy, Inc. partnered and continues to promote IMPD BLink camera technology — which uses technology to link personal and business security cameras with IMPD to enhance public safety.
IMPD also has 22 LPR (License Plate Reader) cameras downtown. LPR technology serves as digital witnesses capturing vehicle plates that pass by them and is strategically placed in downtown hot spots.
Q: Have you seen successes from these safety measures?
- Enhanced daily patrols result in high-level community stakeholder engagement and satisfaction.
- Camera technology provides suspect information to lead detectives for stronger filings on cases for prosecution.
Downtown remains the safest part of the city of Indianapolis accounting for less than 5% crime city-wide.
Q: What are the additional benefits of having increased foot/bike patrols and Safety Ambassadors?
A: Having officers visible on bicycles and on foot allows for up close and personal conversations with the community we proudly serve. Officers are more approachable on foot and bike versus a patrol vehicle.
Fun fact: Many of our officers ride up to thirty miles per day. They are avid bike riders who love the outdoors and the exercise.
Our Safety Ambassadors aren’t far behind logging thousands of steps a day. It’s a great feeling being greeted and welcomed by a Safety Ambassador when new to our city.
Q: Can you tell us about the City’s response to Homelessness?
A: The city continues to prioritize permanent supportive housing with capital and economic incentive programs for our unsheltered neighbors.
Downtown Indy, Inc. works with the Office of Public Health and Safety as well as outreach partners on best practices and programs.
Officers work with mental health professionals when available and a clinician-only response team is in the pipeline and will respond to mental health calls, leading to better outcomes for the individual experiencing a crisis.
Q: What can the community do to keep Downtown Indy a safe + vibrant place to gather?
- Report suspicious activity by calling 911.
- Get involved — we would love for you to join us.
- Advocate by organizing a community clean-up or reporting graffiti to our Director of Operations.
- Most importantly, come downtown. One of the greatest deterrents to crime is an active and vibrant area. Our entire Downtown Indy team is committed to a clean, safe, and beautiful downtown.
To stay updated on all of the happenings Downtown, sign-up for Downtown Indy, Inc.’s newsletter and start adding all the events to your calendar.*