A neighborhood crime watch group provides a grassroots strategy for others
INDIANAPOLIS — IMPD numbers show that several categories of crime in Indianapolis are down this year. While statistics are helpful, they don’t always indicate whether neighbors feel safe in their community.
Christian Park neighbors tell us they are using volunteer resources to hopefully eliminate the temptation to commit crimes in their area. They hope these efforts will work in other Indy communities as well.
“You just have to have that community involvement and people are always alert,” said Tabitha Barnett, a community organizer. “I can’t stress that part enough.”
Barnett works around the clock to prevent crime in the Christian Park neighborhood, an area of about 2,000 houses on the east side. Back in the springwe highlighted Christian Park’s reformed crime watch group primarily organized on social media.
“I’m really, really happy to have 473 members right now,” Barnett said. “I would like to see him grow a lot more.”
Barnett also runs the Twin Aire Crime Watch page and encourages residents of that neighborhood to join. Communities use the free tool as a virtual meeting place where they post photos and openly communicate what neighbors see and hear.
“I had a lot of people flagging me in my inbox and saying, ‘Hey, I think it’s happening, every chance you can pass,'” Barnett explained.
Barnett usually stops. She is one of 15 to 20 patrol volunteers who monitor a small part of her neighborhood, alerting police and others to suspicious activity.
“Say something happened at 2 p.m., we’ll have them patrolling from noon to four,” Barnett said.
The neighbors also know where the crimes take place, even in the street. Indeed, Steve Terry checks the IMPD reports daily and analyzes the data frequently.
“Then in our area, I break it down into quadrants, times, locations,” Terry explained. “If you have enough statistics, you can kind of predict where the crime is going to happen.”
Although WISP could not verify Terry’s numbers, its recent report from early October to the end shows a decrease in arson, assault, theft, burglary and burglary in its area.
“I think the criminals are aware that we’re patrolling, they know that we’re watching them,” Terry said.
Start a Community Crime Watch
In addition to organizing a Facebook page and patrolling volunteers to move around the neighborhood, Barnett also suggests that someone volunteer as a crime watch representative and primarily run the group. And, attend community meetings.
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