King Park residents use safety patrols to keep criminals at bay

INDIANAPOLIS - Residents are resorting to a new tactic to drive criminals out of the King Park neighborhood.

Currently, there are 69 King Park residents who pay $25 a month for a safety-patrol service and many in the neighborhood said it's money well-spent.

"This is a really cheap, easy solution. It helps the officers too. It provides them with extra money," Victoria Mara Rutt said.

When Rutt moved into the Herron-Morton neighborhood seven years ago, the crime almost drove her out.

"One of my neighbors one house away on my block had four break-ins in one month. It was really frustrating and we were all waiting to be the next target," she said.

Instead of being the next target, neighbors rallied, and the King Park Safety Patrol was born. For now, four hours a day, off-duty police officers cruise through the neighborhood. It is a coordinated effort to deter and respond to crime.

Kevin Lauerman is co-owner of safeIndy.com.

"We provide a supplement to the beat officer who normally works the area. We give extra eyes and ears to the neighborhood. We take the time to address particular problems," Lauerman said.

Heather Roemer has a 5-month-old son said she appreciates what the safety patrol can do.

"If you feel there is a threat or you see something suspicious or if you know you are going out of town,   they will pay extra attention to your home," Roemer said.

Each officer who patrols, files a report of detailing their activities for the day. Each resident who pays for the patrol service gets a copy of it. It represents transparency and hopefully, efficiency. 

"We all know the challenges IMPD faces. We just don't have the resources to have enough patrols in the neighborhood regularly. I feel like this can be beneficial for any neighborhood. It makes a more targeted patrol program to your area," resident Janelle Renschler said.

Through Oct. 1 of this year, the safety patrol officers have made 12 arrests.

One of those arrests was of a known burglar who lives on the north side. He was walking behind homes. 

He was arrested for drug possession.

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