Police say crime crackdown starts with neighbors

Abandoned storefronts are one area police and neighbors are targeting.

Metro police leaders are promising a violent crime crackdown less than 24 hours after a suspected drug dealer shot four IMPD officers serving a warrant on the south side Wednesday night.


All four IMPD officers injured in that shootout were home by Friday morning.

A total of five people were arrested in the home on State Avenue where the shooting took place and where officers served that warrant.


The target of the warrant was shot and killed in the raid, 27-year old Andrew Sizemore, who had no extensive criminal record.  But police say he and his family have been involved with drugs for years.
They credit someone in the neighborhood stepping up to tell police something wasn't right at the house.
And that's exactly what the head of public safety, the police chief and the mayor say is key.

Mayor Greg Ballard thanked neighbors who provided information to Metro Police, "It's not just police. It's a community effort...We want to use those folks as best as possible to help police."

IMPD Chief Rick Hite is promising to be more aggressive in pursuing criminals, revealing to Eyewitness News some new tactics to stop the violence.

It began tonight in one neighborhood and will spread across the city with a message - "get involved."

Driving change to drive out crime. We rode through a southside neighborhood with resident Quentin Starks.

"We have a strip center to the right here. Looks rundown. Quite a few empty shops," Starks said. "Right behind us is that infamous Village Pantry that is empty. Vacant for years now."

He knows the problems in his University Heights neighborhood around the University of Indianapolis.

Now, one day after four SWAT officers were shot in another neighborhood, Starks is part of a bold pilot program to solve his area's problems.

"The Community Action Team Plan is a great first step," he said.

It's the city's new anti-crime initiative, kicked off Thursday night at University Park. The idea is to solve big crime problems by going after all the neighborhood's other problems, too - from stray animals to rundown properties that violate city codes.

"Only way it will be successful is if neighbors are involved in the decisions," said Public Safety director Troy Riggs, who began working up the plan over a year ago.

The neighbors send their ideas and complaints to a city contact and meet in regular roundtables.

From cops to code enforcement, all city services can then focus together on problems.

"It gives a voice to neighbors who didn't have a voice before," said Starks. "It gives a face to names."

So when a request comes from University Park, the city knows who is making that request.

Starks also showed us his neighborhood's many bright spots. From wide sidewalks to its partnerships with University of Indianapolis to its new pocket park, which will soon open with walking trails and a prairie - a place kids can learn.