ZIONSVILLE — It has been named one of the safest cities in Indiana — and even the country — but police in Zionsville are building a new crime reduction unit for the community of nearly 29,000 people.
It’s called SAFE, which stands for Strategically Applied Focus and Enforcement.
“We are a safe community. We understand that. But the goal is always no crime; not low crime, it’s no crime," said Zionsville police Sgt. Joshua Samuelson.
The department began planning the unit four months ago after noticing a slight, but steady uptick in crime trends over the last five years.
“We’re a microcosm of the greater central Indiana area, so if we’re seeing increases in other areas — Carmel, anything in Hamilton County, Indianapolis — we have to assume it’s eventually going to get to us," said Zionsville police Capt. Drake Sterling.
SAFE focuses on three areas: crimes against persons, property crimes and acting as a liaison to other agencies. It will utilize both uniformed and plainclothes officers, as well as flexibility in schedules.
"It's really just a means to deter and keep Zionsville the safest it can be," said Sterling.
Sterling said all costs of personnel, training and equipment for SAFE are covered under the current budget.
Over the last five years, several rankings have put Zionsville in the top safest cities in the U.S. In 2020, the FBI reported there were 379 total offenses in Zionsville.
The goal of SAFE, police say, is to make the community even safer.
"There's nothing wrong with making a safe community safer," Samuelson said.
Zionsville police say they've looked to neighboring departments with similar units, like Fishers. Officials would not disclose how many officers will be assigned to SAFE, but selection is already underway, with specialized training slated to start soon after.
SAFE could launch in Zionsville as early as May.