MATT DEL BUSTO | STAFF REPORTER
On Nov. 17 and 18, members of 18 agencies, including the Marion County Health Department, carried out the Knock and Talk event where they went door-to-door in three neighborhoods, including Butler-Tarkington.
The top needs found by the teams included financial assistance to maintain housing, utility assistance, homeowner repair, food and clothing assistance and other general assistance including holiday meal help, according to a news release.
Julie Fidler, housing and services specialist for the Department of Public Safety, said the two main goals of the event were to foster relationships between the residents and the law enforcement and city agencies. She said it was an opportunity to provide residents with information and resources in the area immediately surrounding them. The sweep of Butler-Tarkington included areas including between 38th and 41st street on Boulevard and Graceland.
Anne Leighty, Butler-Tarkington resident and senior pharmacy major, said the sweeps are good because it will help residents know who they are reaching out to more.
“I don’t know if it will necessarily help with the overall issue of the crime that’s been happening, but at least hopefully it will make people reach out a little bit quicker,” Leighty said.
Fidler said they hope to empower neighbors to identify ways they can be safe and secure themselves. She said sometimes there is a stigma attached to issues such as mental health, substance abuse or lack of food for children, which causes people to not want to talk about these issues.
“For me, breaking down the stigma was the key thing. People who are trying to take care of their families may do things they wouldn’t normally do which are criminal in nature,” Fidler said. “Prevention at its finest is what we were doing.”
Fidler said residents they spoke with will get a follow-up packet of information about things specific to where they live through the mail, starting next week. She said the two most exciting parts were smoke-detector and porch-light-bulb requests because they are examples of people taking charge of their own environments and homes.
“I think if you help that area as a whole kind of better itself than I think that that could lead to more opportunities and better outcomes,” Leighty said.
The Indianapolis Fire Department and Red Cross will install fire detectors from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 21 in the homes of the Butler-Tarkington residents who requested them.
“If people have the things that they need for themselves and their families, they are a lot less likely to commit crimes,” Fidler said. “If they have employment, if they have food, if they have housing, basic necessity stuff, they are less likely to commit crime if they have tools to take care of themselves. That’s how it benefits students who live in this area. They won’t be victims, they won’t be caught up in any of that, there won’t be the availability of drugs and those kinds of things in the area, and so they are safer because of that.”