INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The city’s mayor and police chief led a group through the neighborhood of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and 24th streets on Wednesday.
They’re hoping their presence will help prevent crime.
This is the fifth time Mayor Joe Hogsett and Chief Bryan Roach have led walks. What they’re walking for is a stop to crime in the neighborhood.
“The message is that we’re in this together. It’s not just a police issue. It’s a community issue. And the community is concerned. As we are. And the violence is unacceptable,” Roach said.
What is acceptable? Basketball. Hogsett, Roach and other officers teamed up to play a group of kids.
“I think it’s so cool and awesome,” 13-year-old Braydon Richardson said. “So I can see the mayor play basketball with them. It’s so awesome.”
It appeared the mayor’s team lost to the kids, but it was not about keeping score. It was about teaching kids to shoot for success and stay away from crime.
“I think they appreciate the fact that IMPD is concerned about public safety in and around their neighborhood. It’s our efforts to make neighbors safer than they already are,” the mayor said.
The next stop for Hogsett and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department chief was the Indianapolis Public Library’s Flanner House Branch, where it was not quiet time and books that had kids excited.
“I just met the mayor, and I’m on TV, and lots of police officers,” 9-year old Braylyn Davis said. “When I grow up, I want to be a police officer.”
At the library, kids got a chance to meet the chief and the mayor and interact with police officers. They’re trying to build a relationship with the community.
“It has to be the community embracing safe streets and their involvement is critical to helping the police keep our neighborhoods safe,” Hogsett said.
The mayor said the plan had contributed to a slight drop in homicides compared to last year.
“The numbers can change so we’re not taking anything for granted. But, the truth is, we’re doing better than we were doing last year at this point,” he said.
Hogsett also said aggravated assaults are slightly down from last year. He and Roach plan to do walks once a month.
The Ten Point Coalition also took part in the event.