West Indianapolis, Indiana

Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation

West Indianapolis, Indiana

Target Area: Near West Collaborative Community - Population: 18,000

BCJI Awardee: Movement Forward, Inc.

Research Partner: National Police Foundation

Focus Areas: Violent Crime, Drug-Related Violence, Fatal and Non-Fatal Shootings, Aggravated Assaults, Property Crime

BCJI Funding Year: FY2019

Neighborhood Characteristics

The Near West Collaborative is a community in southwest Indianapolis consisting of four neighborhoods: Haughville Strong, Hawthorne, Stringtown, and the We Care Neighborhood Association. The area hosts more racial and ethnic diversity than other parts of Marion county. According to 2010 census data, 43 percent of the population is African American and 40 percent is Caucasian. The Hispanic population makes up an increasingly large portion of the neighborhood population at 20 percent. Approximately 38 percent of the community’s households include children. One out of every three people in the Near West Collaborative lives at or below the poverty level.  

Historically, the Near West Collaborative was home to the city’s small but vibrant meatpacking industry, initially established in the late 1800s and thriving into the mid-late 1950s. As large meatpacking plants became more common, many smaller, family-owned meatpacking enterprises went out of business in the 1960s and 1970s. Many Near West residents were employed by the meatpacking industry and earned stable, middle-class wages. In the 1970s, as most of the area’s meatpacking industry went out of business, the economic vitality of the community waned. The area went into a steep decline, from which it has not recovered. 

The Near West Collaborative has consistently been plagued with high levels of homicide and other violent crimes, including rape, robbery, and non-fatal shootings. In addition to socioeconomic blight and lack of resources, community residents and police agree that major violent crime issues stem from the drug trade. 

Residents and stakeholder organizations are now working to restore the area. Efforts to revitalize the neighborhood are underway, promoted by active community organizations, including the Hawthorne Neighborhood Association, the Haughville-Strong Neighborhood Association, We Care Neighborhood Association, and the Stringtown Neighborhood Association.

Planning Phase

The site engaged in a nine-month Planning Phase, resulting in the development of a comprehensive Action Plan that outlines the range of strategies that the MovementForward Team will pursue during the Implementation Phase.

The Planning Phase included six tasks: 

  • Task 1: Increase community engagement and capacity-building through community partnerships and leadership.
  • Task 2: Identify, verify, and prioritize chronic crime hot spots. 
  • Task 3: Work with a cross-sector team and law enforcement partners to develop multi-faceted strategies to address crime drivers. 
  • Task 4: Develop the Community by MovementForward, Inc., mobile application to support community engagement and crime reduction strategies. 
  • Task 5: Launch the Community by MovementForward, Inc. mobile application as a method for increasing citizen engagement in crime reduction efforts throughout the Near West Collaborative community.  
  • Task 6: Develop a comprehensive Action Plan to reduce crime, including a range of data-driven strategies. 

Strategies selected for the Implementation Phase promote the primary goal of reducing violent crime through a cross-sector partnership in the Near West Collaborative community. 

Other Key Partners

The City of Indianapolis, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, U.S. Attorney, local houses of worship, Local businesses, Hawthorne Neighborhood Association, Haughville Community Council, We Care Neighborhood Association, Stringtown Neighborhood Association 

This project is supported by Cooperative Agreement No. 2018-BJ-BX-K035 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions contained herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. References to specific agencies, companies, products, or services should not be considered an endorsement by the author(s) or the U.S. Department of Justice. Rather, the references are illustrations to supplement discussion of the issues.

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