We move up here to Indy back in May of last year. Actually we live in a small town outside of Indianapolis just as we lived in a small town outside of Memphis in Tennessee.
My observations on the crime in these two cities may interest some of you. I work in TV so I get to hear about all the crime that happens, even things that tend to not make it onto the news.
Consistently has a violent crime rate in the top 5 of the country per capita. Overall, Memphis can be a very, very rough place. Over 143 separate street gangs with as many as 40,000+ members in the metro area. (surrounding 8 counties). I believe last year was the first time since 1972 or thereabouts that Memphis finished the year with under 100 murders. This for a city with almost 700,000 people, that's a pretty high murder rate. One year that we lived there, 2008 or 2009 maybe, the murder total was 182. There are areas in Memphis where you just do not go, at all, and for sure not at night.
Basically, even though Memphis has a very high violent crime rate, it tends to be mostly one gang member killing another gang member. And if the person killed isn't in a gang, it tends to be some idiot trying to buy crack from a gang member. Rarely does violent crime reach out a touch the truly innocent in the Memphis area. And honestly, if the gangs want to kill each other off, more power to them.
The police department of the City of Memphis is pitiful. Easily one of the worst police departments I have ever seen. The outgoing police director, named Larry Godwin, disbanded the Gang Task Force as one of the first things he did when he took over. This in a town that, as I said, the FBI says has 143 street gangs operating in it, chief among them The Vice Lords and MS13. The police there are constantly being arrested for various crimes, such as, rape, robbery, car theft, drug selling, drug protection, pimping, murder, assault and just about anything else that you can think of. One of the stories we did one summer was that it had been 3 consecutive months since a Memphis City PD officer had been arrested for anything. This was big news and it didn't last more than a day or two after the story ran, another was arrested for something. In short, they are terrible. they have found active gang member who were on the police force there. The gangs paid for them to go to school and get a criminal justice degree so they could be hired by the MPD. Amazing.
I have been here less than a year but here are my observations so far. I have been to the "bad areas" of Indy. Mostly the East side of town. Places that people who have lived here their whole lives have told me they avoid at all costs. Honestly, since I didn't have a valid permit until today, none of these places made me feel like I HAD to be armed. Really, they just weren't that bad. Not compared to areas that I used to think were "OK", not great back home in Memphis. I'm not sure how many street gangs there are in Indy but I have not seen a single person that I could readily say is in a gang by the way they dress or act. So the gang situation is much less pervasive here or they just know how to act and dress like normal people instead of skells. But, I doubt that seriously.
The thing with crime is in Indy is this: the people being shot and assaulted here tend to be mostly regular people. Just normal citizens on their way to work or home or the store. A woman was dragged out of her car at a stop sign and shot in the chest and left in the middle of the street last month. Her car stolen and she was left for dead. Violent crime here tends to actually be directed towards the normal citizens.
Indianapolis PD. Well, not long after I got here, the big scandal of the IMPD hit. An officer was apparently drunk on duty and driving his squad car and hit a couple of motorcycles that were stopped at a red light. Eric Wells, one of the men on the bikes was killed. The officer will stand trial this summer I believe.
The other thing was one officer that the chief recommended be fired for using excessive force in arresting a 15 year old kid. the kid had a swollen eye and face after the fight. The thing is, the "kid" is 6 foot 2 and was flinging around a female officer when the male officer came to her aid and it took that much force to restrain this "kid". the Police Merit board refused to fire him and he is still on duty today.
There were protests in the Circle down town with people chanting that the IMPD is out of control. I was stunned to say the least. Honestly, if this is the worst that the IMPD has, then they are great compared to the MPD. Not to lessen the fact that a drunk cop killed a citizen by hitting him with his city police vehicle while drunk on duty. But, I would say the IMPD is much better than the MPD.
The end result of all this is, even though Memphis had a higher violent crime rate than Indianapolis, and Memphis has areas where I just would not go into even in the day time and Indy doesn't, I feel like there is a higher chance of violent crime happening to me here in Indianapolis than in Memphis. And it's weird but the reason for this is, Indy doesn't have a lot of Gangs. So the thugs tend to target the common person instead of a rival gang.
It's strange but I feel like I may be in more danger here than I was in Memphis. But in reality, that's just because I stayed out of a lot of places in Memphis because I knew I would be targeted. just like everyone else there does. there are large parts of the city where the only living things are gang members, cops and stray dogs.
I know this is kind of long and rambling, I'm at work, it's Saturday and there is NOTHING going on. So I just felt like giving a little comparison of the two cities. I hope someone found it interesting.