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Recent violence and crime along downtown canal investigated

Posted at 7:37 PM, Mar 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-18 19:37:23-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Within an hour of each other, two people were robbed at gunpoint along the downtown canal Saturday night. A 15-year-old girl has since been arrested and police are now looking at more safety measures they can put in place.

"It's a pretty area, you hate to see those stories," Todd Smith, who works downtown, said. "Winter or summer, I've just never seen the problem, so it's just kind of mind-blowing that it's happening at night."

Last month an Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis student was robbed at gunpoint along the canal.

Warner Berry, a Broad Ripple resident, was disheartened by this news. "I've heard of things going on on the canal," he said. "But as far as robberies happening back to back like that, I think it's just really sad, and it's a danger to this community."

"This is such a nice community area around here and to be able to use it is always a plus, without being scared," Jonathan Tarro, a student who lives along the canal, said.

Police have recognized - just like Tarro - that tens of thousands of people work or live in the mile square area. They are re-analyzing their safety plans by adding extra officers on the canal and targeting teens who they say are migrating over from the mall once it closes on the weekends and causing crime.

"We'll have them out of the mall prior to closing so once it does close and the juveniles come over there, they will immediately see the police there," Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Downtown District Commander, Phil Burton, said.

Commander Burton said canal stakeholders have considered adding set hours or curfews for using the canal in the past, but it's always fallen through.

Their new idea is to place a camera along the canal to help monitor and curb crime.

"We do have a mobile camera. We are going to place it up on top like at Michigan Street so we will shoot down and get as far down as we can," Commander Burton said. "We'll get some footage out of that and hopefully capture any type of criminal activity that could be going on."

Police said they're reached out to Downtown Indy again, to revisit designating hours for when people can use the canal. RTV6 will update viewers on how that plays out, as well as the installation of a surveillance camera.

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