Pervasive Lawlessness

I grew up at 537 N Hamilton Avenue, across the street from where seven people were murdered last night. My dad owns three adjacent properties on Hamilton (my inheritance), and I have lots of family still living there. This time last year Mel and I were living at 541 N Hamilton.

A crime like this has been a long time coming in that area. I don’t want to paint the entire Near Eastside with the same brush, but there are quite a few bad pockets over there. The 500 block of N Hamilton is one such area. There’s a pervasive lawlessness that gives it a Wild West feel. There are abandoned cars and houses, frequent fires, lots of pit bulls and Rotts, and late night street brawls. During the day, scores of men laze about with nothing to do. The crazies get crazier as the summer heat intensifies.

I’m not going to bother going into the sociological explanations of what’s wrong with our inner city neighborhoods. The Mayor and the City of Indianapolis need to use this crime as an opportunity to address the resolute helplessness that our inner city citizens face daily. This was not an isolated crime.

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3 Comments

Filed under The way the world works

3 responses to “Pervasive Lawlessness

  1. Babe, how would you suggest the city begin to address the problems in that neighborhood? There are so many problems over there, it’s difficult to know where to begin.

    I guess establishing frequent neighborhood clean-ups and reaching out to the residents to help them form a neighborhood association would be a start.

    Another might be enforcing curfew laws and finding a way to get the teenagers breaking them into GED classes and job training programs.

  2. Nothing good ever comes of a crime of this nature to be certain but perhaps the visibility this particular crime is getting (you cannot have local station on right now who is not covering this full time) will prompt the city to pay more attention that area from a crime prevention and development standpoint. It just sucks that it takes something this horrific to (hopefully) motivate the city. I’ve been in Indy for nearly 11 years now so I was not here when this happened but I remember when I was in college in the mid-90’s hearing my college friends that were Indy residents talk about the terrible repeated carjacking-murder combos that were going on on College Ave. between south Broadripple and downtown and how the city finally took steps to try and help the residents of that area. To be sure there are some issues still in the stretch south of about 49th on down but take a drive in that area – lots of renovation, new commercial places for job opportunities, new and renovation in the residential buildings and a while I’m not suggesting we change to a police state there is a visible police presence in that area to discourage lawless behavior – there is an IPD substation at 42nd and College that I believe went in around that timeframe. Hopefully this terrible event can be a call to action for the city.

  3. I think the curfew idea is interesting. There’s been a boatload of cash flow through the area via Eastside Community Investments (ECI).

    I believe part of the problem is learned helplessness. The folks in these neighborhoods feel like they have no control. They just get beat down and beat out everywhere they turn, so they don’t know what it means to be good citizens and good neighbors. They’re just trying to survive.

    Even if we find some way to address the cognitive issues (what folks think about their role in the world), we have to create a sociological infrastructure that reinforces their positive cognitive experiences.

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