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Editor's Note: March 2013

The night of the Richmond Hill explosion, my husband and I were sitting on our couch, 10 miles north of the southside neighborhood. It was just after 11 p.m. when we felt the house shudder. “What was that?” I asked, and we guessed that the dog had knocked into something upstairs; I even got up to check on him.

When I returned, I happened to look on Twitter. “Did anyone else feel that?” posts were flooding my timeline, and someone had created a tongue-in-cheek hashtag: #indyboom. Over the next few hours, our eyes were glued to social media as the seriousness of the situation set in: The boom was an explosion, possibly gas related. Homes, lives—obliterated. It was unfathomable that someone could have set off the blast on purpose, yet the police now allege that’s exactly what happened.

So why did we devote the core of this issue to crime? Why now? Isn’t there always crime, and hasn’t there always been? The short answer is yes—and in the section, helmed by executive editor Evan West, we even delve into some of Indy’s historic crimes. But the long answer is more nuanced. For starters, safety may determine whether we become the world-class destination we aspire to be.

NeighborhoodScout.com, which analyzes FBI data, ranks us in the bottom 3 percent of U.S. cities when it comes to crime. “Few communities of this size have a crime rate as high as Indianapolis,” it reports. Indeed, violent crime was up 5 percent last year. I live in Arsenal Heights. Knock on wood, I’ve never felt ill at ease there, but even neighborhoods perceived to be safe aren’t without their headlines. How about the 17-year-old girl shot in a Carmel home invasion last fall? And jeweler Gary Thrapp, shot during a break-in at his home near The Fashion Mall?

Fortunately, there are creative, ambitious people working hard to make Indy a desirable place to live. With a new public safety director (p. 52 in the print edition, available digitally here, and live online on March 29), one hopes that 2013 becomes a turning point for the city’s crime problem. We don’t expect change to happen overnight. Our problems didn’t develop that quickly. Unless, of course, you live in Richmond Hill.


Amanda Heckert is the editor of Indianapolis Monthly. See her bio here.

This column appeared in the March 2013 issue.

Amanda Heckert is the editor of Indianapolis Monthly. See her bio here.

This column appeared in the February 2013 issue.

- See more at: http://www.indianapolismonthly.com/editorsnote/story.aspx?ID=1874913#sthash.HbOERhWS.dpuf

Amanda Heckert is the editor of Indianapolis Monthly. See her bio here.

This column appeared in the February 2013 issue.

- See more at: http://www.indianapolismonthly.com/editorsnote/story.aspx?ID=1874913#sthash.HbOERhWS.dpuf

Amanda Heckert is the editor of Indianapolis Monthly. See her bio here.

This column appeared in the February 2013 issue.

- See more at: http://www.indianapolismonthly.com/editorsnote/story.aspx?ID=1874913#sthash.HbOERhWS.dpuf