After second shooting, city works to clean up west side neighborhood

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – A near west side neighborhood in Indianapolis is seeing results after 24-Hour News 8 puts a spotlight on the area, which was filled with trash and crime.

On April 23, police found the second victim of a shooting within a year lying in an alley behind the 1000 block of 34th St.

At that time, vacant lots were filled with trash and weeds covered nearly everything. If you drive there today, yards are looking cleaner and homeowners have been notified of mandatory upkeep. What’s even better, is now neighbors know there’s someone to call if they want to keep their streets clean.

When 24-Hour News 8 spoke to neighbors in that area back in April, they were fed up.

“You can see the condition of some of these people, the trash is just bad, ya know,” a neighbor who didn’t want to be named said.

That neighbor wanted a street light, more police patrols and a visit from the health department. 24-Hour News 8 contacted Mayor Greg Ballard’s office to pass this request on.

“And that’s it. We jumped right in and got involved to the best of what we could,” Adam Baker, with Indianapolis Code Enforcement, said.

Four different agencies from code enforcement to the county health department found piles of trash and a number of violations.

“I mean, it’s the broken window theory, right? If there’s one thing that’s broken, it could possibly lead to other things,” Baker said.

Neighbors in the area didn’t realize the city would actually respond to the complaints.

“Hey, when you live your every day life, it’s like you get used it. Like I said, you really don’t expect anybody to care to come out and help or do anything about it,” neighbor Chris Martin said.

There are few things left to clean up, such as a random recliner and some high weeds. Neighbors have about two days left in their 15-day window to get that cleaned up.

“So, we do have that, but generally we try to get out here as soon as possible and work with them. Especially when you have an effort like this,” Baker said.

Often, the dumped garbage isn’t even from the people who live there. In that case, code enforcement investigates and tries to track down the culprit. It’s a collaborative effort by the community to help clean up the streets, and rid them of violence.

“Yes. That’s very nice to know. Because I didn’t know. If you have any, need some assistance contact them and they will help. That’s cool,” Martin said.

To report a street that needs cleaning in your neighborhood, call the Mayor’s Action Center at (317) 327-4622.

Since 24-Hour News 8 emailed Mayor Ballard’s office, there has been increased police presence in the neighborhood. Typically there is after a crime, but if neighbors want them to stay longer they can simply request that from their local post.

City agencies said they will stay on top of the citations and regrowth of weeds and grass that can conceal crime and harbor disease.

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