Thursday, May 31, 2007

How Bad Is It?

A guy lives in a condo in the 400 block of Mass Avenue above Hoaglin To Go. He rises early race day Sunday to walk his dog about 4:00 a.m. before getting an early start at the track. He stumbles upon a guy preparing to spray paint graffiti on the call box at the front door. The vandal grabs him and slams his face on to the sidewalk, breaking out teeth and leaving a big gash on his forehead which required stitches. It's just another day in Mayor Peterson's Indianapolis. Do you feel safe?

Even Nuvo columnist David Hoppe, who is typically very pro-Peterson, is beginning to think crime may and should become a big issue in this campaign. He writes:

I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of a time when crime in this city has seemed so pervasive — and I’ve lived here close to 20 years.

It’s worth noting that we’re having an election this November. Campaigning was what Greg Ballard was trying to do on that afternoon a man was shot. Ballard is running for mayor against Bart Peterson, who is seeking his third term. Ballard held an impromptu press conference to say that crime in this city is out of hand, the police are stretched thin and that something needs to be done.

Some people probably thought holding a press conference at a crime scene was grandstanding. I thought Ballard had a point: Crime in this city ought to be an election issue.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

To answer your question, no. But I have a question, was there a street light there? Was it a new side walk?

The more news I see the more I think there is no good reason to be out at night in the city, you are a target.

Advance Indiana said...

It's Mass Avenue downtown. HELLO! The prosecutor, members of the mayor's staff and city council members can all be seen having coffee at the Starbucks in this same block on any given morning. I walk right by it every day on my way to work. It's two blocks from my home. No street lighting and bad sidewalks aren't a problem here.

Anonymous said...

You've made your point.

Many, many times.

No, I don't feel safer. But neither do I feel the urge to walk at 4 a.m. Not that it would be my fault if I did and got mugged.

But this incessant whining is getting old. Crime is a problem, a huge problem, in every one of the nation's top 20 cities. The main reasons are declining respect for authority, and the lousy freaking economy. Increased crime has historically followed a lousy economy like a puppy.

Because too many young people place too little value on property and life, it's easy and quick to rob or hurt someone.

Our outrage isn't enough.

Today, unlike my youth, which was yeah, way too long ago...when an argument ensues, gunfire is too likely to follow--quickly. There's no sense of proportion in people's lack of tolerance and patience. I'm mad, boom, I shoot a gun or bash someone's head in.

This problem did not come upon us overnight. Five thousand police officers on the street will not solve it.

They'll just get there quicker to file the reports.

Until and unless we as a society refuse to accept this behavior, and start a generational change, it will continue.

God help us all.

Anonymous said...

Anon 610 - oh contraire! I would feel safer with five thousand police on the streets. The problem I see here is you expect us to accept this crime, which continues to spiral upwards, and be happy with it. You offer no solutions just criticism of the talk. This forum is a way to discuss ideas, vent our frustrations, disagree (which we do very well, thank you) and bitch at eachother too.

You close with a generational change, ok, don't just spout off that thought, start listing those ideas.

We know the MM troll these blogs you never know whose ear you'll catch.

The Scribe said...

The main reasons are declining respect for authority, and the lousy freaking economy. Increased crime has historically followed a lousy economy like a puppy.

Hey anon 6:10, I know DailyKos and the MSM are trying to tell you differently, but we are in the midst of the strongest economy in years, especially since the recovery from the Clinton recession.

Don't be fooled by this alleged housing market bubble. As the owner of some decently large real estate holdings, it's all a croc. It's just the economy's way of weeding out the bottom feeders, nothing more than economic darwinism.

The reality is your boy Bart has had his head in the sand for eight years, while ensuring major contributors get their payoffs. I don't think the Simon's new building or that fancy new hotel Bart's buddy is getting will do much to put those 200 cops we were promised.

Anyone get mugged today?

Anonymous said...

8:05, I don't know how you jump to the conclusion that I want anyone to accept this crime. I don't accept it, and I don't want others to accept it.

It is a generational issue, I suppose, to some degree.

But people of all ages have come to accept cheapened value on life and property. It slipped over a couple decades, not overnight.

The best way to change that, in any swift manner, is to insist on stern sentences and fines for offenders.

That method, however, doens't usually produce quick turn-arounds.

We have a normal number of police officers per resident. More might help, but not substantially.

I'd prefer:

1. Crime prevention programs. Starting very young.

2. As mentioned, swift and sure judgment/sentencing.

3. Better courts. Our Superior Courts have become dumping grounds for mediorcre attorneys. Stop electing them. Have professional review panels recommend judges, and then have them appointed. Yeah, I know, it's removing a democratic staple, but we've tried this for awhile, and it doesn't work. And the quality of judges is not getting better. Check the Star online update today...one judge just got reprimanded for DUI, and he was not highly-recommended by the bar association last election. Sometimes, lawyers are right.

4. No one will like this one, but: change the high school dropout age to 18 or graduation. Truancy contributes to higher crime.

You asked, I provided...now please, don't go making rash assumptions again. There are countless more good ideas out there.

Anonymous said...

8:22, I don't read Kos. I work daily in the business world, and have done so for 30 years. Without $2 bil a week in war expenditures this economy is a crapshoot, at best. Check history.

The DJIA is just that: Industrial Average. Industry, war...think about it.

Clinton recession? In what world are you living? Bush couldn't prevent 9/11 and the ensuing economic crash, but Clinton, for all his dalliances, was a balanced budget devotee. Not so Reagan or either Bush.

Inflated health care and energy costs are squeezing the life out of this economy, and have been for close to five years. And President Bush's insistence on tax cuts, while budgets spiral out of control into deficits, is, in his father's words, Voodoo Economics.

Spending ourselves out of this eocnomic cycle won't work. We need fundamental reforms. But I digress.

Historically, crime rates often increase when the lower and middle classes feel pressed by economic reality. Getting our economy moving again will not automatically raise our safety factor.

But it's a good adjunct to a safer environment.

They're offering some excellent continuing ed or non-credit/auditing classes in recent economic history at U of Indianapolis this summer. You might want to check them out.

Anonymous said...

A Report of the Community Crime Prevention Task Force

How many recommendations from this report have been implimented ?

http://tinyurl.com/ynu8nd

The Task Force highlighted recommendations that fall in the eight (8) following areas:
Ex-offenders
Recommendations:
• Expand comprehensive re-entry preparation programs
• Expand workforce development offerings for ex-offenders and improve their training for and
connections with sustainable, legal work ( this has been brought up to the CCC in differnt forms I think )

Indianapolis Violence Reduction
Partnership & Lever Pulling
Recommendations:
• Support IVRP’s plan to host “lever pulling” meetings for active probationers ( "Lever pulling" means every law enforcement “lever” will be pulled if violence does occur. ) I think we may need more staffing to do this ?
Expand lever pulling to gang members ( Not sure where we stand with gangs ? The procsecutor plan for tougher measures got shot down by a judge ).

Health
Recommendations:
• Improve the courts’ capacity to manage and direct individuals with substance abuse and mental health issues ( Maybe with the last roung of court improvements ? )
• Expand low-cost programs to provide treatment in neighborhoods where drug behavior exists ?
• Establish an “engagement center” as an alternative to jail for publicly intoxicated individuals ?
• Expand crisis intervention training (CIT) to all officers and establish a specialized CIT Force ?

Families
Recommendations:
• Ensure adequate support for abused and neglected children by expanding services and
resources for families already in contact with the criminal justice or child welfare systems as
well as those families at-risk of entering those systems ?
• Establish comprehensive, multidimensional programs to support youth “aging out” of foster
care ?

Neighborhoods
Recommendations:
• Continue to conduct and support outreach in neighborhoods ? Need more officers to do this ?
• Increase responsiveness of law enforcement to neighborhood residents ? See above
• Improve policing of public housing units ? See above

Mentoring
Recommendations: ( I Assume anyone of us with enough free time can help mentor someone )
• Support law enforcement based mentoring ? Do we do this currently ?
• Support coordination of mentoring programs for youth ?
• Connect youth at the Juvenile Detention Center with mentors and mentoring programs that meet
the individual child’s needs ?

Education/Relationship to School
Recommendations:
• Insure that schools are safe places for youth ? Are they ?
• Encourage and support schools to teach peaceful conflict resolution, violence prevention, antibullying
and life skills ( I think this is being done )
• Support early, on-going assessments and interventions to improve students’ reading abilities ? See above
• Establish alternatives to suspension and expulsion through in-school suspension ? Not sure ?

Youth Engagement/Activities
Recommendations:
• Connect older youth with community centers, multi-service centers, faith-based organizations
and nonprofits that offer recreation, tutoring and coaching on life and employment skills ?
• Connect youth with the arts ?
• Adequately market youth programs and activities with impact, influence and effect ?
• Expand employment opportunities for at-risk youth ?

I assume anyone of us could help in some way with the youth activities listed above.

Overall from what I read above and what I have seen published on public just some of the recommendations have been put itno action while some others may have already been in place. But to me more than half of the recommendations have not been implimented. There is no way to tie the recommendations to actual results as far as I can tell. How do we determine ifwhat was recommended that the powers to be actually getdone or at least attempted ?

Anonymous said...

Pro-Peterson types will point out that our homicide rate is still lower than during the crack/gang wars a while back. The problem is that even though killings were much higher, most of the crime was confined to certain areas with certain players involved. Even today, the homicides are still drug/domestic related for the most part. However, we seem to have started seeing a rise in other crimes as well: Theft, break-ins, and robbery. These are the crimes that will scare people away. There was a guy quoted in the Star that said he lived on the near-eastside. He obviously likes urban living, but even he said he is almost ready to move up to Carmel where everyone else he works with lives. His complaint was the constant aggressive panhandling just outside his front door. If mayor Peterson does not act soon, all the redeveloped areas will soon go bye-bye (execpt the core downtown area).

But this incessant whining is getting old. Crime is a problem, a huge problem, in every one of the nation's top 20 cities.

Just because homicides are up in _some_ cities (while down in cities similar to Indy) does not mean _all_ crime is up. Using your logic, every single big city has seen their carjackings DOUBLE. I seriously doubt this has happened. I think Indy is starting to see what happens when welfare babies start hitting their early teens to late 20s. My guess is that if you looked back on the stats, you would see a welfare babyboom 20-some years ago. Anything that is not nailed down in this city is ripe for the taking!!

This problem did not come upon us overnight. Five thousand police officers on the street will not solve it.

Depends. 5,000 ready and willing officers WOULD solve this issue. It is all about being active. You see a guy jump off a dumpster in an alley where there are windows to a building. A cop has two choices:
A: Stop and detain the individual and look for signs of a break-in.
B: Keep on driving because their back-up is too far away and/or they are just lazy.

Cops who work under A are those cops who get guns off the street, send folks with warrants to the jail. Under B, guns continue to stay on the street. A perfect example is the seatbelt checkpoint out on the near eastside this past week. Guy who is a drug dealer w/no license is stopped for not wearing his seatbelt. He takes off on foot. He gets tasered and while he is falling, a gun drops out of his waistband. All we know is that there is on less gun off the street. Given this guys job, that gun could have easily been the cause of one or more homicides. 5,000 pro-active cops would clean this city up in a heartbeat. 5,000 playing cops would do nothing.

Lance Rasmussen said...

I find the excuse that "crime is rising everywhere" to be petulant and hollow. What, Bart & Co. should just throw up their hands, and do nothing because of national trends (crime does follow the economy, but it's not a 1:1 correlation). Quit making excuses for bad leadership and a failure to act, people.

The Scribe said...

Anon 9:40, thanks for regurgitating the Defeatocrat spin. How about thinking for yourself?

Seen unemployment figures lately? How about for the last 5-6 years?

Bush couldn't stop 9/11? Seriously? I think your tin-foil hat slipped off while typing your post. You have to be the blindest partisan hack not named Wilson to have made that statement.

Read your history. He had nine months. Your boy Slick Willy was too busy playing "hide the cigar" and selling secrets to the Chinese for eight years. Too bad he didn't take out OBL the two times he admitted to having the chance.

Back to Bart.

1) Where are our 200 cops?

2) Why have his developer friends been given new hotels and his contributers new corporate HQ's while this city lacks the infrastructure to even hire 200 new cops?

3) What has he done over the past eight years to fix any of this, besides destroy the city's credit rating?

The Scribe said...

Oh, and Anon 9:40 the reality of the "Clinton economy" is this:

1) Huge cuts in defense spending, which succeeded at bleeding our military of it's most experienced troops. My Marine Corps unit had E-4 Corporals filling billets requiring E-6 and E-7's. That was a very common sight.

We are paying for this today in the Middle East. But Defeatocrats are real big supporters of the troops, right?

2)Welfare reform forced on him by Republicans after his own party abandoned him. Families in the bottom 20% of income had a 35% increase in income from 1991-2005.

3)Corporate scandals galore. Global Crossing? ImClone?

4)A tech bubble that was encouraged and fostered by Reich and his socialist cronies to cover up the reality that the rest of the economy was tanking. "Let them eat tech stocks!"

5)A budget deal with the GOP that cut the rate of Medicaid spending and cut taxes on capital gains.

6)A short term influx of cash into the treasury resulting from investors taking advantage of the tax reduction.

As is typical of Defeatocrat economic planning, you may have noticed the emphasis on short term. As long as they can create an illusion that lasts through the next election cycle.

See pal, I do my homework and think for myself. All without the assistance of economic history classes from UofI.

Anonymous said...

Crime is out of control through out the United States and only in Indpls does Peterson get the blame. Sure he's not the best mayor, but he is not to blame for an increase in crime nationally.

Remember in 2001 when George W Bush cut back all those federal dollars that went to the states for law enforcement? Then he created Homeland Security so that he can set his cronies up with jobs and spend federal dollars on H2's. FAA investigators have been driving brand new cadillacs that were purchased with federal dollars.

Stop blamming peterson, look further, or better yet, follow the money.

Next think you'll be blaming Peterson for the ATV that your nephew snuffed himself out on.

Even the dumb and blind know that they are problems, so instead of bringing them to our attention, try sharing some ideas that are realistic and possible, gary!

Anonymous said...

Wow,scribe, do you really believe the drivel you type?

Sad.

Rising crime in each of the nation's top 20 cities is not an excuse, or something to wallow in...it's fact. It doesn't mean we have to like it or accept it It means we are not alone, and that solutions elsewhere might work here.

Tough economic times demand more from us. It doesn't help that we're locked in a war we can't afford, or win, fighting en "enemy" that had zippo to do with 9/11, spending federal money like it's water. The federal governmenmt is first, second AND third to the borrowing window every day of our business lives. So yes, the economy is held together with chewing gum and baling wire.

Enough hand-wringing. If we all take care of our kids, and watch out for our neighbors' kids, half this crime increase woudl go away. We're all too busy trying to stay afloat. Or other things.

In my childhood, when I did stupid things, if my parents didn't see me, my neighbors did, and they stepped in.

Do that today and you'll get Child Protective Services called on you.

Simple as it sounds, along with the other good ideas posted here, we need to be our btoehr's keeper. Effectively.

And demand that our government stop mortgaging our kids' future, thereby making a shambles of our economy.

It's a daunting task, but I will not give up. Nor should you.

The Scribe said...

Wilson, why are you now posting anonymously?

Anonymous said...

Hey Scribe, I'm not wilson, far from it. I know for a fact (it's the sine qua non for my employment) that nationally crime is on the rise and not every city is pointing fingers at the mayor.

Start pulling some solutions together as no one likes a complainer except for another complainer.

That guy on Mass Ave was a damn fool to walk outside without looking to see it's safe. He should have stayed inside and called the police. Downtown District isn't as overwhelmed as the other districts.

When they're stupid, victims DO have a choice.

Wilson46201 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Melyssa said...

I haven't talked to Ballard and still know very little about him. However, if you are going to call foul for Ballard "grandstanding" at a crime scene, then be sure to put Mayor Peterson in that group.

If anyone was grandstanding today, it was the Mayor at another dog and pony show he held today on the anniversary of the terrible murder tragedy that happened last year on Hamilton Street.

He used that moment with all the press there to grandstand about $10 million to give their neighborhood new sidewalks...our mayor's favorite crime fighting tactic.

You think Guiliani cleaned up NYC crime with sidewalks?

Advance Indiana said...

anon 12:01, You're obviously one of the mayor's paid trolls who bounce from blog to blog attacking anyone who dares criticize your dear Bart. I detect a sense that the mayor's approval ratings are in a free fall and voter confidence in him is sinking so fast that you all fear an upset by an under-financed, unknown GOP candidate like Greg Ballard. And as for your comment, "Next think you'll be blaming Peterson for the ATV that your nephew snuffed himself out on"--it shows just how ruthless you all are in your win at any costs game of politics. I've pointed the blame at no one for my nephew's accident. Pardon me for mourning his death you sick and demented soul. I'm sure your the same pathetic person who posted the snide little comment on that post as well. You really are a sick person.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:45 and others claiming that rising crime has been a national problem, why don't you go and look at the actual statistics?

According to the Department of Justice, national violent and property crime rates have generally declined from 1995 to 2005.

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/cvict.htm

According to the FBI, violent crime increased nationally by 3.7% in the first half of 2006 compared to the first half of 2005, but property crimes declined by 2.6% over the same period.

http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/prelim06/index.html

Indianapolis, by contrast, has seen its property crime rate go up every year since 2002 (the earliest year for comparable numbers) for a total increase of 22.7% over the period, and its violent crime rate sort of decline but then jump by 12.5% from 2004 to 2005 (according to the FBI, the national violent crime rate increased by just 1.3% that year).

http://bjsdata.ojp.usdoj.gov/dataonline/Search/Crime/Local/JurisbyJurisLarge.cfm

How does that compare to cities of comparable size? Well, Milwaukee, Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Oklahoma City all saw their rates of violent and property crime decline over the same period (for years of comparable data).

Nashville, Philadelphia, Kansas City, and Saint Louis saw their rates of violent crime go up, but the property crime rate declined.

Denver and Minneapolis saw both their violent and property crime rates increase.

So, actual statistics show that the crime rate increases in Indianapolis are (1) outside the national trends and (2) outside the trends in comparable cities. This may explain why citizens in other cities are not pointing their fingers at their mayors since they are not facing the same problems Indianapolis is.

Kevin said...

anonymous 1:45,
I live in the building. The attacker was to the immediate left of the building, in which there is no window. As you exit the building you can only look straight ahead or to the right, not until you have stepped out the door can you see left. Besides, do YOU look out your front door to make sure its safe every time you leave YOUR home? Know the whole story before you call someone a damn fool.

Also, IPD made things worse when they told the victim that he shouldn't have "aggrevated" the attacker. Excuse me? The thug was painting graffiti on our building. This is not an apartment building, these are expensive condos and we are homeowners. They guy who was attacked was the president of the homeowners association. He simply asked the thug what he was doing, then all hell broke loose.

I guess according to IPD we should just let vandalism happen in order to stay free from personal harm. While one officer was telling him not to aggrevate the attacker, the other officer was busy playing with the victims dogs and asking questions about them. Yeah, I feel real safe now.

The Scribe said...

Oops, hate it when those darn facts get in the way.

Anonymous said...

I have lived here for 27 years. The area that Nuvo's offices are located are about 3 blocks from my office. That area has had a much higher crime rate in the past than it does now. I went to butler, and several of the students were assualted and robbed -- in 1981. That Mr. Hoppe has suddenly discovered that other areas of the city do not get the sort of police protection that the broadripple village gets, is the real issue.