46218 residents: There is hope in crime-ridden zip code

(WISH Photo)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – “It has been a problem zip code probably for the last 10 to 12 years and it seems to be getting worse,” said Ten Point Coalition’s Reverend Charles Harrison in an interview with 24-Hour News 8 Monday.

Some community leaders call it the worst zip code in the city of Indianapolis right now.  Its murder stats have nearly doubled since last year.  Its reputation for crime seems to be its most known quality.  But, after seeing Monday night’s report neighbors are fighting back.  They say there is hope for the area.  One woman, Shari Himes, wanted the chance to respond.  She fears the more people commonly think of 46218 as drugs, gangs and violence, the more good families will stay away.

46218 is on the city’s east side.  It’s 9.44 square miles and covers ground from 38th Street. south to 16th street and from Sutherland Avenue east to Arlington Avenue.

While crime is up, neighbors say it stays within cells inside 46218.  But, around the edges there is good and neighbors working hard to keep it that way are asking for help in hopes of it spreading even deeper into those areas of blight and crime.

Himes says 46218 is full of potential.  She points out, that neighbors there have access to some of the city’s best magnet and charter schools.  Her house sits just a few blocks from the Monon Trail.  46218 is also, what she says, the gateway to the Indiana State Fairgrounds. “

“But, I think some of that gets overlooked because of the crime and some select areas of 46218,” said Himes.

Himes points to illegal dumping.  There was even an old couch she says was recently added.  Himes says she calls the Mayor’s Action Line and crews come out to clean, but then it happens again.  She says between the dark alleys and vacant homes it’s hard to stay on top of.

However, it’s just one thing she and her neighbors here on Kinnear on the city’s east side keep an eye on.

“One thing about it.  We get out here and hustle.  We get out here and do something,” said Sherman M. Buckner Jr., 46218 neighbor.

Leonard King Junior moved to 46218 about two years ago from the south side.  He showed up Tuesday to not only mow his yard, but the vacant lot next door.

“We need more people to step out in the community and stuff and help in the properties that are around and stuff,” said King.

If there’s one person to spark change, it’s Himes.  Her parents bought this house in the late 50s, early 60s.  It’s home to Himes.  All she sees is opportunity.

“Come here!  There’s land!  38th street is a main thorough fair.  You can’t tell me you won’t have business.  so, what’s the holdup?” said Himes.

The Northeast Community Development Corp. is also doing what it can to make the area attractive.  This could seem daunting for an area with such a bad reputation.

“Sometimes it’s the chicken before the egg. But, it’s also the vision.  And I think that we want to let folks know that we all have spending capital available,” said Amandula Anderson, Northeast UNEC Development Corp. Executive Director.

A developer recently purchase the old candy factory on 38th street.  Crews were out finishing up some sidewalks Tuesday.   Soon, in its place, will be affordable housing near the Monon and the fairgrounds.

“It’s just a really ripe area for development and I don’t think that people realtors, whomever, I don’t think they sell the area for the positives,” said Himes.

Two homes on Himes block down Kinnear are set to be demolished through the Hardest Hit project.  There are roughly 12 other homes that have been identified for demolition.  This can make room for more improvement for anything from community gardens to new homes for families.

As far as dark alleys are concerned, this isn’t the only neighborhood in the city in need of lighting to keep areas lit so criminal activity can’t go unnoticed.

If you’d like a light installed in your neighborhood call IPL at 261-8653.

Prices vary depending on the necessary infrastructure.  IPL says installation starts at $130 and then energy costs are $6.18 a month.

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