Indy upgrades downtown canal security

INDIANAPOLIS — The City of Indianapolis will spend an additional $375,000 to upgrade security and infrastructure on the Downtown Canal ahead of warming temperatures and longer nights that have accompanied more violence in the past.

”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 by a man with whom she exchanged words across from the Indianapolis Colts Canal Playspace near Walnut Street.

Just a week earlier, a 14-year-old boy was killed by a man IMPD found he was trying to rob.

Neighbors said recent public safety improvements along the canal have eased their anxiety over 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 adding two security cameras to the Playspace and converting 145 lights to LED technology as well as reconstructing 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 paying officers overtime to patrol the Canal on bicycles at night to augment new public safety cameras that will feed 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 encouraged to join the City’s system which makes private security video available to officers investigating criminal activity.

The improvements are being financed through the Downtown Tax Increment Financing District which captures downtown tax revenues to retain those funds for improvements in the city’s core area.

A final phase of Canal improvements will be completed by the end of 2024 with the construction of bollards on the north end of the waterway.

Comments are closed.