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Indianapolis improves downtown canal security



Indianapolis, Indiana – The city of Indianapolis will invest an additional $375,000 to improve security and infrastructure along the Downtown Canal in anticipation of rising temperatures and longer nights, which have historically been associated with increased violence.

”Unfortunately over the past few years this path has too often been marred by the ugliness of crime and violence,” said City-County Council President Vop Osili.

On July 5, 2020, a young mother was shot to death across from the Indianapolis Colts Canal Playspace at Walnut Street by a man with whom she had exchanged remarks.

A week earlier, a 14-year-old child was slain by a man who IMPD discovered he was attempting to rob.

Neighbors reported that recent public safety enhancements along the canal have alleviated their concerns about late-night gunshots.

“I think if we’re honest the last couple years it went from a very questionable area to today a very nice very delightful evening area,” said Dennis Erpelding. “In the evening you have the lights, you have the cameras, you have the police presence, and I think it’s really changed the dynamics.”

The city is upgrading the Playspace with two security cameras, converting 145 lights to LED technology, and rebuilding walkway walls near the USS Indianapolis Memorial.

”New cameras, LED lights, even the new pavers here at Colts Playspace are more than amenities. They’re more like little signs that read, ‘The Canal Walk is property of the people of Indianapolis,” said Osili.

”Downtown Indianapolis is a place for families,” agreed Karen Haley, CEO of Indianapolis Cultural Trail. “You can raise families downtown.”

IMPD will continue to pay officers overtime to ride bicycles around the Canal at night to supplement new public safety cameras that will broadcast live video to a police command center.

”These cameras are absolutely awesome. They’ve just improved a lot of them in the fact that we can see at night,” said Captain Scott Hessong. ”We have individuals who are watching these cameras looking for suspicious activity before it even happens to try to prevent those crimes.”

Canal residents are invited to join the City’s system, which allows authorities investigating illegal behavior to view private surveillance video.

The downtown tax increment financing district, which gathers downtown tax revenues and retains those funds for upgrades in the city’s core area, is funding the enhancements.

The final phase of Canal renovations will be finished by the end of 2024 with the installation of bollards on the waterway’s northern terminus.

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