Police to Boost Manpower Downtown After Two Violent Incidents
IMPD to man mall entrances, use metal detectors on suspicious patrons
IMPD Chief Rick Hite (WIBC.com photo: Eric Berman)
Indy Metro Police are stepping up weekend patrols around Circle Centre Mall and across downtown, after two straight weekends of violent incidents.
Chief Rick Hite says about 50 extra officers will be on duty downtown. Gang-unit detectives will be posted around mall entrances, with metal detectors for patrons whose conduct arouses suspicion. Police will make expanded use of surveillance equipment acquired for last year's Super Bowl, put officers on IndyGo buses to send a message to would-be troublemakers that they're watching, and give extra attention to intelligence suggesting plans for a downtown confrontation.
Hite says the department will reassess the increased security each week.
Last weekend, a teenager was arrested after firing shots in the direction of pedestrians outside Circle Centre Mall. That incident came a week after a brawl erupted inside the shopping center when security officers tried to eject a group of disruptive teenagers.
Even though it's been just two incidents, Hite says IMPD needs to take a strong stand quickly. He says the Super Bowl "raised the bar" for the city, and says police will not allow violence in the public areas of the city -- especially downtown, which he calls Indy's "crown jewel."
Circle Centre manager John Campbell released a written statement saying he "applauds" the city for taking a zero-tolerance approach to inappropriate behavior, and says mall security has been similarly vigilant on Circle Centre property.
-->Click to read Circle Centre's statement
The Ten Point Coalition says Circle Centre should ban minors from the mall after five p-m on weekends unless they're accompanied by adults. Mall owner Simon Property Group says that would be difficult to enforce and would penalize hundreds of law-abiding teenagers.
Coalition members plan a prayer vigil on the streets surrounding the mall Saturday night.