A violent 2015 in Indianapolis: Ballard reflects, Hogsett looks forward on public safety

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\INDIANAPOLIS (Dec. 30, 2015) – Outgoing Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard knows Friday his successor, mayor-elect Joe Hog sett, will inherit a public safety crisis.

With 144 murders in the city as of Tuesday, according to the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, 2015 will imprint as one of the city’s deadliest ever.

“Neighborhoods are unnerved,” Hogsett said. “Understandable unnerved by the level of crime that they read and see on TV every day.”

Hogsett has appointed Troy Riggs as the city’s new police chief, a nod to the Ballard-era crime-fighting philosophy. Riggs spearheaded a data-driven approach to policing as Ballard’s public safety director, identifying six of the city’s most violent zip codes and focusing attention there.

“The number of mental health runs that came up in those six areas was stunning,” Ballard said. “And I think it told the city, and hopefully the state, this is an issue. Some of the laws regarding mental health, and even some of the criminals who have mental health issues, maybe they wouldn't have been criminals if we would have done the right thing earlier."

Ballard wants lawmakers and the new administration to seriously push for mental health change.

But the new administration concedes the city’s crime problem may get worse before it gets better.

“You aren’t going to change things overnight, and I know people don’t necessarily expect that,” Hogsett said. “But they do want to see progress made. And that’s precisely what we are going to try and deliver.”

Like Ballard, Hogsett believes early childhood education can help curb crime.

Included in this year’s historic crime stats, more Indianapolis youth using and falling victim to gun violence.

“I’d like to keep them out of the system all together,” Hogsett said. “I think that’s cost effective and certainly more safe.”

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