IBJ Podcast: Is downtown safe? Ask two business owners who reached different conclusions.

One of the most persistent questions about downtown Indianapolis since its 1980s resurgence has been, “Is downtown safe?” In the Feb. 17 issue of IBJ, reporters  Mickey Shuey and Taylor Wooten presented statistics for violent and nonviolent crime indicating that downtown remains one of the city’s safest areas, in particular in terms of crimes per capita.

Here’s the rub: Statistics often don’t matter as much as perception. And good luck quoting statistics to someone who has been the victim of a crime. Since safety is a prime concern of business owners and executives whose operations are based downtown, IBJ Podcast host Mason King spoke to two entrepreneurs who have drawn different conclusions about downtown safety and made very different decisions about their downtown operations.

Greg Harris is the founder of Backhaul Direct, and Andrew Elsener is a co-founder of Spot, formerly known as Spot Freight. Harris decided to pack up and relocate Backhaul Direct’s offices to Fishers after being attacked downtown and hearing other employee concerns about safety. Meanwhile, Elsener decided to open an additional office downtown—although he does have concerns about incidents of theft and the shaky state of downtown infrastructure. In fact, Elsener recently moved his entire family to the Mile Square, just a block north of Monument Circle.

Click here to find the IBJ Podcast each Monday. You can also subscribe at iTunesGoogle PlayTune In, Spotify and anyplace you find podcasts.

You can also listen to these recent episodes:

IBJ Podcast: Downtown fixture Wheeler Mission on verge of big transition

IBJ Podcast: He stitched handbags in his Irvington basement, and now it’s a $1M business

IBJ Podcast: Amy Brown’s unusual route from family studies to tech CEO

IBJ Podcast: A look back at celebrated Indy jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery

IBJ Podcast: Internet banking pioneer Becker has bucket list but isn’t going anywhere

Looking for another podcast to try? Check out IBJ’s The Freedom Forum with Angela B. Freeman, a monthly discussion about diversity and inclusion in central Indiana’s business community.

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5 thoughts on “IBJ Podcast: Is downtown safe? Ask two business owners who reached different conclusions.

  1. Great dialogue, lot of truth shared and light shed. I agree that homelessness is the greatest source of incidents and altercations, and as anyone downtown knows, it has nothing to do with those who “are down on their luck” and everything to do with a combination of mental/psychological health and addiction. There is nothing cruel about removing an addict or someone with a litany of psychiatric conditions off the streets and into a care facility. In fact, I would argue that the opposite is true: allowing these folks who are in desperate need of long term help and permanent solutions to remain in the very public eye is intentionally cruel. Looking at you Mayor H.

  2. I can absolutely tell you that Downtown Indianapolis is not at all safe. Coming here everyday I am subjected to aggressive homeless activity in the Circle City Mall parking lot to and from work on a daily basis. Being “told” it is safe is insulting, as I am very nervous walking to and from the parking garage to my office. I complained about this again this morning to my security guard when I arrived. It is a MAJOR problem.

    1. Use to love going downtown to walk around. Not anymore. It doesn’t feel safe. Especially going up to
      Illinois street over to Market Street on up to Monument Circle.
      Market over to City Market is bad also.

  3. Businesses are not going to locate and
    people are not going to come back downtown if the
    vagrant problem is not taken care of. I’m surprised we have not
    convention business because of this.