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City announces creation of new team that will review violent crime in Indianapolis

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Faced with a nearly 30 percent increase in homicides over a year ago, Mayor Greg Ballard and Public Safety Director Troy Riggs unveiled a new efficiency team responsible for developing a strategy to reduce violent crime rates in Marion County.

“This is not a program. This is not a project. This is not an initiative,” said Public Safety Director Troy Riggs. “This is a new way of doing business for the city and for the police department.”

In late January, city officials announced more than two dozen efficiency teams were created to take a top-to-bottom review of public safety, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and crime related issues in Indianapolis. Thursday, officials announced the establishment of the Violent Crime Review Team, which will consist of about 30 members from varying agencies, including law enforcement and criminal justice officials, as well as community representatives such as the 10-Point Coalition. The team will be headed by IMPD Chief Rick Hite.

Hite said that non-fatal shootings outnumber homicides by a 5-1 ratio.

“Victims of crime and their families, their lives are altered because of violent crime,” said Riggs. “Future generations are altered because of violent crime.”

For the week ending March 9, the police department reported 22 homicides, versus 17 homicides at this point in 2012. Since that time, two more killings have occurred. Additionally, aggravated assaults and robberies are up, though rape cases have reduced by 15 percent.

“Last year marked the third consecutive year IMPD reported fewer than 100 murders, but we cannot rest on our laurels,” said Mayor Ballard. “Therefore, I have directed DPS to develop a plan to reduce violent crime in our city. Naturally, if we bring down that number, the murder rate will continue to drop.”

Riggs has said in the past that he wants to track violent crime, from its suspects and offenders to its origins in families and schools then through the law enforcement and criminal justice system to incarceration and return to the community.

The efficiency team may look at tracking at-risk youngsters to identify earlier which children might be victims or suspects and offer counseling, alternative sentencing and behavior modification that impacts the entire family.

“We have already in the area of truancy taken steps to hold parents accountable and where appropriate we will do so in gun cases as well,” said Prosecutor Terry Curry.

The Indianapolis program will be similar to the Milwaukee Homicide Review Commission, which was launched in 2005.

Founding Director Mallory O’Brien told Fox 59 News that the commission has successfully reduced the number of homicides and non-fatal shootings in Milwaukee through analysis of neighborhoods, victims and suspects and developing city ordinances and patrol and investigation alternatives to combat violent crime.

As police, prosecutors and probation authorities share information, they are better able to track those at risk of not only committing crimes but also being victimized.

Department of Corrections probation officers are now advised when a parolee is involved in a crime and agents then not only visit that parolee, but other ex-offenders living on the same block to advise them of the crime and the investigative efforts to solve it.

O’Brien said that the commission was successful in finding money to support a witness protection fund so that witnesses to violent crime would not be intimidated about coming forward.

Milwaukee police officers now have access to follow up information regarding juvenile offenders who return home or are back on the streets after arrests.

Homicides in Milwaukee taverns dropped after directed patrols were assigned on weekends and a city ordinance requiring surveillance cameras in bars was adopted.

Chicago, New Orleans, Las Vegas, Birmingham, Alabama, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Saginaw, Mich., have all adopted parts of the Milwaukee approach to combating violent crime.

O’Brien said homicides fell by 52 percent in districts where the plan was originally rolled out.

In Milwaukee, an executive committee, including the district attorney, police chief, mayor, U.S. Attorney, attorney general, DOC chief and community organization directors, oversees the operation of the commission on an ongoing basis to maintain the pressure and funding for the city’s assault on violent crime.

The Violent Crime Review Team will have its initial meeting on Friday.  The team is expected to submit a draft of its 2013 plan by May 1 and the final plan by May 31. Information pertaining to the team’s work can be accessed here.

31 comments

  • Becky

    First we need a prosecutor that will put these gangsters away,not let them out to kill and rob again.So far he has not shown a willingness to prosicute any minority.He needs the black vote to get re-elected..thats whats its all about

    • Go Hard or Go Home

      What our city needs are some programs for the youth. What you need is to do your research because per the website Center for America Progress (www.americanprogress.) Students of color face harsher punishments in school than their white peers, leading to a higher number of youth of color incarcerated. Black and Hispanic students represent more than 70 percent of those involved in school-related arrests or referrals to law enforcement. Currently, African Americans make up two-fifths and Hispanics one-fifth of confined youth today.

      • luther

        whoever misbehaves gets harsher punishment. it's not about color, it's about behavior and character. try NOT acting like a loud and foul mouthed miscreant. you'd be surprised how easy it is to not get into trouble and placed in a jail cell. don't like jail? don't go. simple as that. and you wouldn't have to ask the city taxpayers to provide a damn thing for your failed parenting. it's always other people's fault. never your own.

    • Go Hard or Go Home

      I do agree that criminals need to be dealt with, but I also agree that our city needs more for the youth 21 and under to participate in to keep them off the streets.

      • Go Hard or Go Home

        Really? They found all this money all of a sudden, but no one can find any money in this state to fund programs for our youth. There are no YMCA, nor Boys and Girls clubs in the areas that need them, maybe if the communities open centers on the weekends to throw dances for the youth, and the police could volunteer to provide security. The schools need to provide daily recreation throughout the summers and the parents, police, and firefighters could volunteer so the kids have somewhere to go. All this… now all of a sudden there is money to fund this and guess what the same people that said they didn't want to pay for them to have something to do, are still gonna pay. They are gonna pay if they go to jail too, because they it costs more to send someone to jail per day for a year, two, or three for nonviolent crimes, than to build community centers and try to re-instill values. Where are the mathematicians, the economists, the psychologists, and the realists. And any racist people who have something to say, guess what? God knows your heart.

      • Go Hard or Go Home

        Here you go…What does sterilization have to do youth fighting? Now the @$$ whoopin part is another story, because you probably voted discipline out of the schools. Now that's puzzling to me because if that same 16yr old is incarcerated and gets out of line he might possibly be hit with a billy club or shocked with a stun gun. Come on Indy yall can do better than this guy, where the stand up men that care about the community, and want our city to keep a good name for the right reasons. Where yall at?

    • Think First

      Is the Indiana answer always racism? People who make such comments need to study real facts, consider their own educational accomplishments, and consider the effects of marginalization of a good segment of your population. The misinformation perpetuated by our politicians and business leaders regarding the education system and criminality will not serve our state well. The chickens will come home to roost in ways we will certainly regret. No civilization every progresses for long with a great underclass. We should understand the long term effects of the subversion of low income Whites and minority populations. “There are none so blind as they who refuse to see.” Ignorance is not bliss. You have not lied in so detrimental a way as when you lie to yourself. A truth that hides me from the truth about all things is a truth that will fail to protect me from the truth of my self-inflicted ailment of mediocrity. We are never our best because we try to vilify others worse. Less us finally decide to become tired of the bullying we know as racism.

      • StarlettMiller

        Translation… I ain't kill them kids! Oh and for your information the chickens have already come home to roost and that is…. The hugely disproportionate number of blacks killing blacks and increasingly killing… Well anything they feel needs killing.

      • Think First

        Lying to yourself is only convenient for the moment. Most Whites are killed by Whites, more Blacks are killed by Blacks, more Latinos are killed by Latinos, and in general more people are killed by people they are associated with – ignorance and camps of ignorance do not inform, they misinform and mislead. In general, there is more violent crime among those who are in more socio-economically depressed situations in all races, again. There are more white collar crimes, yet crimes though less "criminalized" by society. We must educate ourselves and not play into sensationalism which leaves the ignorant less ignorant and everyone more vulnerable. Why do people reject the truth? Because most of us are unwilling to do the hard work that is the inside job of self-evaluation.

  • ClanSmokeJaguar

    Pay cops to study crime? Nice!

    Pay them to step on the neck of the criminals. That'll decrease crime.

  • Go Hard or Go Home

    Really? They found all this money all of a sudden, but no one can find any money in this state to fund programs for our youth. There are no YMCA, nor Boys and Girls clubs in the areas that need them, maybe if the communities open centers on the weekends to throw dances for the youth, and the police could volunteer to provide security. The schools need to provide daily recreation throughout the summers and the parents, police, and firefighters could volunteer so the kids have somewhere to go. All this… now all of a sudden there is money to fund this and guess what the same people that said they didn't want to pay for them to have something to do, are still gonna pay. They are gonna pay if they go to jail too, because they it costs more to send someone to jail per day for a year, two, or three for nonviolent crimes, than to build community centers and try to re-instill values. Where are the mathematicians, the economists, the psychologists, and the realists. And any racist people who have something to say, guess what? God knows your heart.

    • RedState_Vet

      The Police could volunteer… firefighters could volunteer.. you're pretty free with other peoples time and resources. Why don't you form a community group and deal with your own problems, rather than expecting everyone else to do it for you.

      • Go Hard or Go Home

        For one YOU do not know what I do, and who said I'm not a volunteer. I would assume you would want to see contribution from the state level as well. Like I said… if they can have volunteer officers police Castleton mall on the weekend & access Simon cameras at the mall, as the city has proposed then it seems that someone would have thought to open a center, local school gymnasiums or something and have the police volunteer there. I thought we were so short on police that we just had a lay off anyway. How quickly people forget what they tell citizens. Now, like I said all of a sudden we have money to deploy separate tasks force & send additional officers to Castleton mall? As for this being a problem of mine, if you do the math…you would know that unless programs are in place; over flooding the juvenile systems will cost just as much in the long run. Remember? If you are a tax payer you will pay for the problems. smarty pants, I wouldn't expect your time, and you and your kind are a small portion of the city. As for your resources, you have no more say so in what the state does with the money than I do. Like I said, where are the real stand up men, all this selfish nonsense is boring. *God Bless*

      • RedState_Vet

        That's a lot of nothing. Thanks for the personal attack, it drove your point home so eloquently. The problems that exist in these neighborhoods have to be dealt with in these neighborhoods. Outsiders will not be able to do it.

        Oh, and I have no problem spending whatever money it takes on the criminal justice system, the only way to deal with a thug is to incarcerate him.

      • Go Hard or Go Home

        The attack was not personal, but your initial response was towards my post… (let your record speak). I come from a city that once had parents, teachers, and off duty police and firefighters to volunteer time for to provide security for events that were held for the youth. That was back in the early 80's and the youth as well as the academic stance was better overall for all of Indiana during that time. As far as incarceration for a youth that has gotten into a fight, I do not feel that they should be incarcerated (i.e., Castleton Mall) if they are under 18 years of age. If there are no proper programs in place to rectify at least some of the problems, the rate of recidivism (likely-hood of re-offending) will be higher. Say for example the ones with no family support (which may be the case in a lot of these incidents), lets say they go away and return in two years to only find they can not secure a job due to their past criminal record. Now, of course if there are like 100 of these case per month… what would actually be rectified? The crime would possibly keep rising and next there could possibly be a Chicago situation. See, the thing about me is that I love people no matter what color they are. I do understand the fact that some people need incarceration. Let me be clear though… when speaking of these neighborhoods, it is important that one be aware of the fact that they do exist "within" Indianapolis… which means they are due a share of state funding for schools, and whatever needs to be done for the youth (i.e., parenting counseling etc.)

      • Go Hard or Go Home

        By the way I am done commenting on these posts because from the four or five posts concerning this incident there are only the same five to ten people on these blogs, and all of the ones that have racist comments make up 3/4 with the exception of citizens like myself that drop in and blog something positive. But none of the racist comments matter, that's why we have a black president, and white children love hip hop, and its too bad grown people are still trying to push that none sense.

  • Indy B

    Those numbers are off, only twenty-two murders prior to March ninth is a joke. Have only had a handful of days this year where a homicide wasn't reported. So how is that possible, is the news making up bodies, or are the cops hiding numbers again?

  • Gat Monkey

    "representatives such as the 10-Point Coalition. "

    Uhmmmm… I'm going to need you ministers to step aside as the po-lease crack a few heads. Not all of them, just the right ones. Move against the shepherd if you want to scatter the flock.

    Stop standing up for the Brandon Johnson's of the community and concentrate your efforts on lowering this body county.

  • bulnutz

    The large majority of criminals in the Marion county jail are black. The vast majority of crimes committed are at the hands of black people.With the population of blacks at or near 10 percent in Indy that makes black people look pretty bad. Its not racist, but the truth. The lack of good parents are probably the biggest reasons for all the crimes in Indy. Building a new gym, basketball goals, ping pong tables, or increases in tax payer money isn't going to prevent these wild animals from robbing,shooting or any other thuggery activity. I pay too much money now in taxes to provide these thugs housing, phones, tattoos,foostamps and whatever else the clergy or special programs that don't work for these people. How about holding their parents accountable for their wild behavior.

    • Think First

      You need to consider our racist past and present that are represented in the ignorant and misinformed comments I read on this thread. The same things mentioned here are also true for Whites. To racialize it and play in to the hype of the media is ridiculous. Parents of all races in this present day need to be more responsible for making their children better prepared to be productive citizens, but the children of all races see irresponsible adult role models of every racial and socio-economic sub-group. Congressmen arrested for solicitation, priests molesting children, adult who starve their own children, fathers who kill the mothers of their children, and a society that says no reason to have boundaries unless your parents can't pay for a good attorney – boys raping a boy on a school bus is just boys being boys, and finally – a child set fire to his school and he wasn't in custody – (why not? Would he have been arrested had he been Latino or White?). We must deal with the fact that people are as altruistic as they are in their most private and typical conversation. We need to be examples to all children. If I can only be a good example and encouragement to children of my own race, I have already failed as a member of the American community.

    • Go Hard or Go Home

      Since there are some that want to contrast races…How about this for the 29 homicides this year committed by blacks… How many white children were killed in one isolated event at a school… How many innocents at the batman showing? (no pun intended) Wow! Some in this city are delusional or either seriously hateful and unhappy. What would make someone judge an entire race that way. Do you not see the black service man that protect these streets for you? Do you not know "some" of them as well as other people black and white in esteemed positions were once running wild in the streets. It is always best to stay optimistic when trying to help youth and in Indiana… anyone under 21 is a minor. Please do me a favor, and save the I'm not racist line. I could care less about opinions. Oh, and its good to pay taxes as a Christian and the bible says to give to the less fortunate. Those who are not a Christian, your dollar still says in God we trust, and your pledge says one nation under God INDIVISIBLE… meaning whites, nor black, nor brown, nor anyone else here should be divided. Please don't even waste my time by responding.

      • Go Hard or Go Home

        By the way I am done commenting on these posts because from the four or five posts concerning this incident there are only the same five to ten people on these blogs, and all of the ones that have racist comments make up 3/4 with the exception of citizens like myself that drop in and blog something positive. But none of the racist comments matter, that's why we have a black president, and white children love hip hop, and its too bad grown people are still trying to push that none sense.

  • StarlettMiller

    In Marion County (Indianapolis) this year..
    29 homicides
    0 yellow
    1 brown
    7 white
    21 black.
    One young black male has been charged with one of the white homicides this year and in all likelihood another young black male will be charged with two of the other four.

    • Go Hard or Go Home

      Since there are some that want to contrast races…How about this for the 29 homicides this year committed by blacks… How many white children were killed in one isolated event at a school… How many innocents at the batman showing? (no pun intended) Wow! Some in this city are delusional or either seriously hateful and unhappy. What would make someone judge an entire race that way. Do you not see the black service man that protect these streets for you? Do you not know "some" of them as well as other people black and white in esteemed positions were once running wild in the streets. It is always best to stay optimistic when trying to help youth and in Indiana… anyone under 21 is a minor. Please do me a favor, and save the I'm not racist line. I could care less about opinions. Oh, and its good to pay taxes as a Christian and the bible says to give to the less fortunate. Those who are not a Christian, your dollar still says in God we trust, and your pledge says one nation under God INDIVISIBLE… meaning whites, nor black, nor brown, nor anyone else here should be divided. Please don't even waste my time by responding.

  • Kris_Chris

    The crime will not go down until these animals kill themselves off. It is a never ending cycle. They have no respect for human life or their own being. It seems that they want nothing more than to live in 3rd world conditions and do nothing to improve their quality of life. Now, before you race baiters jump on me, I say "they" as the thug punks who committ these crimes, not as a slam to any certain race.

  • Go Hard or Go Home

    By the way I am done commenting on these posts because from the four or five posts concerning this incident there are only the same five to ten people on these blogs, and all of the ones that have racist comments make up 3/4 with the exception of citizens like myself that drop in and blog something positive. But none of the racist comments matter, that's why we have a black president, and white children love hip hop, and its too bad grown people are still trying to push that none sense.

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