Police say Lafayette Square Mall 'safe property' despite contrary public opinion

Shootings near mall cause concern among public

INDIANAPOLIS - A shooting Thursday night ended up on the front doorstep of Lafayette Square Mall, bringing with it more bad news to an area that doesn't need it.

The shooting occurred just after 10 Thursday night in the parking lot of a northwest side apartment complex more than a mile from Lafayette Square. It's the second shooting at the complex in a week.

"It used to be a nice apartment. Look at it like this, all this going on," said resident Michael Johnson, who plans to move. "You don't want to stay around this or have your kids around here either."

One of the victims in Thursday night's shooting drove himself from the scene. He got as far as Lafayette Square before he pulled into the parking lot and summoned medical attention.

 

Lafayette Square was once a destination place in Indianapolis, a hub that drew people from all over the city.

In the past two decades, the mall has fallen on hard times.

Even though the violence occurred elsewhere, Lafayette Square and the businesses around it will suffer another blow they can ill-afford to take.

"The area has declined over many years. We're actually closing down this year because of the economy and the area and everything else," said local businessman Randy Biggs. "The area isn't getting better, it's just getting worse."

All throughout the area of 38th Street and Lafayette Road, signs of economic decline are punctuated by empty storefronts and a lack of commerce and consumer traffic.

For more than a year, IMPD's Northwest District has adopted a national policing model called DDACT -- Data Driven Approach to Crime and Traffic. It's recognition that along with everyday people, criminals also travel through high-volume intersections.

"So we're out there enforcing traffic laws in these high-crime areas, and the by-product of that is we're running into and encountering the criminal element giving us the opportunity to make arrests for warrants, drugs, guns and so forth," said Lt. Mark Wood, with IMPD's Northwest District.

So far in 2013, the mall and the area around it have suffered through at least four instances of violence where combatants have fired shots in and around the mall property. Just last month, a 21-year-old man was murdered on mall property.

Still, Metro police insist that the mall is safe.

"We have people there every day going to and from, enjoying the property," Wood said. "So we think it's a safe property, and we're doing everything we can to make sure it stays that way."

 

 

Follow Jack Rinehart on Twitter: @jackrinehart6

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