Indianapolis Test: Will Cleaning Neighborhoods Cut Crime?


Nillie Urick’s block typifies the state of Indianapolis’s Bates-Hendricks neighborhood: Weeds push through cracks in the sidewalk along disintegrating curbs, while debris litters the backyards of several vacant houses, says the Indianapolis Star. Yesterday, the neighborhood served as the starting point for a summerlong effort to lower the city’s rising crime problem. Workers picked up 50 tons of trash and used 25 tons of asphalt to fill potholes in alleys and streets. Ten streetlights were repaired, and 55 street signs were repaired or replaced. The city also issued citations to owners of abandoned and poorly maintained lots. Twenty areas have been slated for attention.

Though city officials were optimistic that their efforts will blunt crime, residents were skeptical. “I’d love to see (Bates-Hendricks) cleaned up. But how long would that last? I don’t think it’ll really help with the crime,” said Urick, 47, who has lived in the area for almost five years. Police officer Stephen Knight disagreed, saying that maintaining areas such as alleys would lessen criminal activity. “Thieves, criminals, generally use places like alleys to make getaways. If (the alleys) look like they’re being maintained, if the thieves realize they’re being watched, they’ll move on to another area,” he said.


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