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INDIANAPOLIS–Crime is down in the southeast District of the city, said the commander of the Indianapolis Metro Police Dept. for that district, in the first of at least six town hall meetings, conducted virtually Monday night. One of the reasons is that people have gotten involved.

More of that is needed, said Commander Ronald Hicks.

“Get involved in your neighborhood. If you’re not a member of a crime watch, if you’re not a block captain, if you’re not an active member of your group, please do that,” he said. “If you see crime being committed or you see a suspicious person in your neighborhood, call it in and report it.”

Hicks said murders and non-fatal shooting were both down in the district, with 51.9 percent of last year’s killings in the district solved.

He said officers are concentrating on identifying the people primarily responsible for the crimes, the hot spots and the behaviors.

“I get data from our crime analyst telling us where the current hot spots are and our shift supervisors will direct officers into those hot spots to either give a visible presence to deter crime. If they’re looking for particular individuals who may be committing crimes, they’ll concentrate on that.”

Hicks said that even though violent crimes are down in the area car jackings and auto thefts are up, which concerns him.

“I would encourage you please if you’re gonna warm up your car before you go to work, please lock it if you can. If you’ve got a spare set of keys please lock it,” said Hicks, who said some cars have been stolen that way.

He said you can avoid being carjacked if you pay attention to your surroundings and keep your doors locked while driving around.

Hicks said cruising and drag racing along Madison Ave., has been curtailed, thanks to some grant money that has paid for officer overtime to help with traffic enforcement.

He credits beat policing with some of the success in the district, which has about 200,000 residents, with 22 police beats and 145 patrol officers, and some 20 supervisors.

“We want everyone to know who their beat police officer is,” he said. “We encourage our officers to get out of their cars, get out and meet people. We encourage bike patrols, foot patrols.”

Hicks also encouraged everyone who is interested in becoming a police officer and who qualifies to apply.

Chief Randal Taylor said five more meetings are planned for now, but with high interest in interacting with the command officers and good question and answer conversations, there may be more.