INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – People who work in Broad Ripple said the city’s effort to make the area feel safer was undeniable this weekend.
Several changes happened along the strip this week after seven people were shot outside a bar last Saturday morning.
One of the most obvious changes is the mobile surveillance cameras set up on two intersections. One was set up where Westfield Boulevard meets College Avenue. Another was placed at the intersection of Broad Ripple Avenue and Winthrop Avenue. Those are running 24/7.
However, it’s the changes that happen only on Friday and Saturday nights that gave people a stronger sense of security. Heavy traffic on the street, sidewalks filled with people, and live music in the air; it’s the hustle and bustle people have come to know along Broad Ripple Avenue, one of Indy’s most popular night life spots.
Flashing lights from police cars are also a common sight during the early morning hours, but there was something different this weekend.
“I’d probably say typically, you’ll see anywhere from 13 to 15 officers out here and there were definitely 30 to 40 that we saw that were out here last night which is great,” said Mike Augustinos, general manager at Kilroy’s in Broad Ripple.
That increased police presence was just part of the city’s plan to combat crime in the area, as well as make visitors feel safe, something some people struggled with after the shooting last weekend.
“You don’t want to be scared in a community, you want to feel like you can go out and have a good time and go home, go home in one piece,” said George Thomas, who was visiting Broad Ripple late Friday night.
Putting more boots on the ground is one way to do that, but the city didn’t stop there. Police also shut down the Broad Ripple Avenue from midnight to 4:00 a.m., allowing only police and taxis to pass through.
Augustinos said he’s glad to see the changes happen so fast, but feels that last week’s shooting was only an isolated incident.
“The bigger issue on certain weekends or certain holidays is when we’re seeing the increased traffic of people that are just loitering,” said Augustinos.
“I think it’s good that they’re responding. They’re trying new things and that’s good that they’re actually doing something about it,” said Thomas.
City leaders haven’t said how long they plan to close down the avenue late at night on weekends or how long the mobile cameras will be set up there.
However, the Indianapolis Department of Homeland Security did say it would measure if the cameras were making a difference to see if permanent ones should be installed.
The Broad Ripple Village Association is also raising money to fund cameras of its own through a fundraising page.