Police urge vigilance to stop Indianapolis gangs
Several arrests of gang members have been made in Indianapolis this week. But to what extent have gangs infiltrated the Circle City, and do you know what to watch out for?
"When there is a strange car that seems to hang around for a while, we have some watchdogs on this street," said Aimee Morgan, Fountain Square resident.
Morgan says neighbors look out for one another and for crime. She says news of this week's crackdown on gang members in the area has her feeling a little safer.
Fountain Square is undergoing a resurgence of sorts, including a newly renovated statue at the heart of the square and the long-awaited Cultural Trail extension. While some businesses didn't survive construction delays, new restaurants and bars have popped up to complement the bustling arts scene, which includes the Murphy Arts Center, Radio Radio and White Rabbit Cabaret, along with the Fountain Square Theatre.
The neighborhood has long been a haven for artists, but it still faces challenges.
"We want to see it be a safe community for ourselves and our children," Morgan said.
This week the Safe Streets Task Force rounded up 14 people who are allegedly members of the Fountain Square Boyz and Problem Child gangs. Their charges include intimidation, battery, criminal confinement and robbery.
But gang problems are not just in Fountain Square.
"We have gangs all over Indianapolis. No, we are not Los Angeles. We are not Chicago. Our gangs operate different. We are going to treat them different," said Frank Miller, Safe Streets Gang Task Force.
Although three of the suspects were processed in juvenile court, they are being charged as adults based on the crimes they are accused of committing. Gang task force officers say you should be on the lookout for the same type of gang activity in your neighborhood.
"If you are having car break-ins, kids getting beat up, if you have graffiti, report it," said Miller.
As residents have seen in Fountain Square, gangs like to leave their mark. That's why it pays to set up a CrimeWatch in your neighborhood.
"We mean business. We want it to be a safe neighborhood," said Aimee Morgan.