Big City Problems: Danger Zone?

This article is part of Indianapolis Monthly’s The New Downtown package, which includes a guide to five hotspots, a few big city problems, and a look at what’s next for the city. For more content on navigating the new downtown, click here.

At 3.6 square miles and around 27,000 residents, the Downtown District is IMPD’s smallest. But at peak work-and-play times, the number of people can swell to more than a quarter-million. Still, IMPD is doing a decent job (with relatively few cops), at least judging by recent crime numbers. Let’s investigate.

Peaceful, Easy Feeling

As housing boomed and population grew, key crime stats in the IMPD’s Downtown District actually remained flat or even dipped—with one notable exception.

Window Shopping

“Property crimes are the most common type,” says district commander Karen Arnett, “specifically thefts from vehicles.” Not surprising, given the 90,000-plus parking spaces downtown.


Say When

Mom always believed nothing good happens after midnight. She may be right: In the last half of 2015, crimes (likely) involving booze—public intoxication, OWI, battery, disorderly conduct, resisting police—tended to happen late.


Crash Course

Rush-hour traffic is a fact of downtown life. So are hit-and-runs. This list of the worst streets from six months last year might make you change your route come commute time—when (big surprise) a third of those wrecks occurred.


Since first joining Indianapolis Monthly in 2000, West has written about a wide range of subjects including crime, history, arts and entertainment, pop culture, politics, and food. His feature stories have twice been noted in the Best American Sports Writing anthology and have received top honors from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. “The Collapse,” West’s account of the 2011 Indiana State Fair tragedy, was a 2013 National City and Regional Magazine Awards finalist in the category of Best Reporting. He lives on the near-east side.