A new initiative to improve downtown public safety is underway in Indianapolis. Four safety ambassadors hit the streets last week after training with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department for the position.
The role is part of a recent investment from the City of Indianapolis to help Downtown Indy Inc. improve public safety perception. Vice President of Finance and Operations at Downtown Indy Inc. Tim Boruff says one of the ambassadors' duties is to observe and report.
"So we want these safety ambassadors to be on foot and basically be the eyes and the ears of the public," Boruff said.
Fourteen additional safety ambassadors start today, through a partnership with the Indianapolis Public Safety Foundation’s cadet program.
Boruff said recent shutdowns, riots and more people experiencing homelessness have impacted downtown.
"As we started to listen to our constituents and people that haven’t been downtown, there was certainly an issue with the perceptions of safety," Boruff said.
Only about 20 percent of downtown workforce is back in the area.
Ambassadors will also work to improve business and visitor relations and homeless outreach.
Boruff said the first day on the job the ambassadors were able to defuse a situation between two individuals.
"When they saw the safety ambassador they kind of calmed themselves and took off," Boruff said, "so it’s that presence and that visibility."
Boruff said downtown represents about four percent of crime in Marion County.