Tuesday, January 14, 2014

SB 313: Mayor Greg Ballard's Attempt To Make Victims Of Crime Pay For Police Runs

There are many neighborhoods  in Indianapolis where the crime is as bad as the worst neighborhoods in Detroit. Mayor Greg Ballard has a plan to tax the owners of property in high crime areas based on the number of police runs to investigate criminal activity that has taken place on properties in those areas. SB 313, sponsored by Sen. Mike Young (R), would permit the City-County Council to levy a fee of up to $100 if police are sent on runs to investigate criminal activity at your property at least five times within a year and a police report is filed substantiating criminal activity occurring on your property.

The Law Enforcement Run Fee ("LERF") can be collected each subsequent time police are sent on a run to your property once the 5-run threshold is reached within a period of a year. If the fee isn't paid by the property owner, it becomes an enforceable lien on the property no different than property taxes. So if you have a rash of break-ins or vandalism at your property, don't bother calling IMPD if you don't want to be hit with fees for having the misfortune of being the repeated victim of criminal activity. The fees would be deposited in a dedicated fund for the benefit of law enforcement agencies.

Apparently every time Mayor Ballard has a bad idea for legislation he takes it to Sen. Mike Young, who gladly sponsors it. The number 313 is appropriate for this legislation. According to Wikipedia, it's the telephone area code for Detroit. Frame 313 in the Zapruder film is the money shot of Kennedy's head being blown off. And the license plate number on Donald Duck's car is 313. In the past, the City has brought public nuisance lawsuits to shutter motels and other commercial businesses that have been the site of multiple police runs for criminal activities. The Law Enforcement Run Fee provided by this legislation is not limited to business properties. I'm guessing the fee won't be assessed against any of Simon Property Group's malls, such as Circle Centre Mall, where police make frequent runs to investigate criminal activity.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

As a police officer, I see this as a great tool to get the attention of landlords with problematic tenants. Getting in the landlord's pocket because he chooses to rent to people who don't play by society's rules is a great idea. Nothing like an eviction to rid the neighborhood of the troublemakers. Also, CID 313 is the compound summary of hydrochloric acid. Gastric acid is the hydrochloric acid component of gastric juice. Excess gastric acid in the stomach can cause heartburn, excess gas, bloating, nausea, and indigestion. You sir, I fear, have too much 313 in your system. That would explain your constant bitterness at all things. Thanks for playing along.

Indy Rob said...

I am surprised that Ballard does not want to start charging admission to anyone attending a city-council meeting, or a business fee when anyone calls the Mayor-action line. He could also sta5rt charging an admission fee for the city parks, pay a buck every time you take your dog to the Broad Ripple dog park or go over to the east side to see the cricket field. I mean he needs to do something to curb the chronic users of these city services.

Gary R. Welsh said...

It depends on how you look at the problem. Which came first? The chicken or the egg?

Indy Rob said...

Really anonymous, fining someone just because there was a police run or five to his property. If someone is doing something illegal, arrest them, let the courts sort out the penalty. And notice that the prosecutor's office is in the mix, doing their best to take as much property (cash and other assets) using "civil" forfeiture laws.

The police get paid already by taxes to enforce the laws. Fining the property owner by saying that he was not doing enough to prevent others for breaking the laws is just heavy handed extortion. Fining someone who is not violating the law himself, but whose property is the location of someone actually breaking the law is just theft. If the property owner is involved in the law breaking, charge him for contributory negligence (or whatever it would be called) and let the courts decide his penalty.

This is just another way for the city to extort money for someone who has not been arrested or convicted of a crime, just to slap a property owner who may or may not have anything to do with the problematic tenants.

Anonymous said...

After all the billions we've spent on police, how can there be bad crime?

After the billions we've blown on downtown with the promise that Indy's economy would roar, how can there be crime?

Indy's results aren't living up to its promises.

Gary R. Welsh said...

These same clowns who want to fine property owners because gangs repeatedly tag their property with graffiti. Again, they want to blame the property owner because a gang targets their property for their "graffiti art."

Anonymous said...

I notice that at least 365 runs by a cop to his own house using a public car, public gas, public insurance, public maintenance are all given without a charge.

Anonymous said...

This may be the beginnings of a power grab to seize, condemn, raze and give away vast tracts of Indy land to private developers.

patriot paul said...

This is one of the most wrong-headed proposals I can imagine. I can understand if the proposal had been worded for a false run and a fee assigned, just like a false alarm in your home once you reach a threshold. But this notion of punishing a caller because of criminal activity on your property is ludicrous. Not only is the number 5 arbitrary, but more fundamental is the precept that somehow the homeowner is the problem because his house is in a crime prone neighborhood and therefore he and his family are wrong for living there in the first place. For doing a good deed in calling the police about a crime, the owner is punished. Not only is this just another creative revenue generator tagged for the police, but it will prompt neighborhood vigilantes to take matters into their own hands rather than risk a fine. Excuse me while I leave the gang related dead person in my front yard. I'll leave it for the trash pick up.

Mary Roger Bowser said...

Sounds like Mayor Marine has finally gone off the deep end.
And of course, his so-called "republican" allies on the CCC will play along.
They are doing everything they can to extort money from hard-working, tax-paying citizens, to give to their millionaire/billionaire friends who finance their re-elections.
They don't care about taxpayers. They only care about their own re-elections.

Anonymous said...

The majority of police runs go to a tiny minority of places. Along 38th St., they go to a very, very few all night gas stations that simply refuse to police their own property and condone drug sales by ignoring them. I suppose you can differentiate between that, or a renter who lets his property get turned into a drug house, and someone who gets burglarized five times, but that's not happening much.

Paul K. Ogden said...

How does this rank in the list of all time dumb proposals by the Ballard administration? Really someone should be making a list.

As much as I dislike Delaney and know his administration would be run by his old employer Barnes & Thornburg just like Ballard's, at least it would not be a Republican tarnishing the name of my party doing these types of things. Ballard has been an embarrassment for six long years.

Anonymous said...

i guarantee there isn't a single person reading this blog that knows a private residence that has had more than 5 police calls to it in one year. does that fact alone justify the idea. no, my point is that the number of private residences that have more than 5 calls is probably 1/10 of 1% of the the total private residences in the city.

listen people, the vast majority of police resources that WE all pay for goes to a very small number of people. clearly, as tax payers, you have NO IDEA, no perspective AT ALL how much of your taxes are being CONSUMED by a small number of troublemakers. i can bet my pathetic govt salary that if you DID know you would be so bleeding heart about it...

imagine going to a buffet and there is one group of people that are eating all the food. everytime you go up to get some more the manager says, "sorry, you will have to wait, the group over there ate everything..." so you sit and wait for more food to come.

get it?! so when you get in an accident from you ACTUAL JOB and you have to wait more than an hour and want to bitch and moan, guess why you are waiting???? that 1/10 of 1% that uses the vast majority of police ofcs is getting their service first. because their 10th domestic disturbance this year is a higher priority than your car (that actually HAS insurance) that got dinged.

Gary R. Welsh said...

As I mentioned in the post, the administration has brought nuisance actions to shutter businesses that become a problem as you describe. The Traveler's Lodge motel on the south side comes to mind, as well as the motel they closed down on the city's east side a few years ago. The scattered crack houses are typically abandoned properties where fining the owner accomplishes nothing because nobody is ever going to pay the fine.

Anonymous said...

i feel this is some poor blogging on your part Gary. You didn't mention that the runs have to be on 5-different days and that a police report has to be made substantiating the criminal activity.

there is nothing that indicates that if someone is the VICTIM of crime that they will be charged. that would be political suicide for any politician to vote for such an ordinance.

however, if public intoxication, prostitution, gambling, etc... true quality of life crimes are occurring at a problem residence/business, i for one have no problem with this ordinance at all.

to frame it as victimizing victims is disingenuous and sensationalist. sad that i have to wait for the indystar report for a more balanced take...

Gary R. Welsh said...

I clearly explained that anon 10:44: "if police are sent on runs to investigate criminal activity at your property at least five times within a year AND a police report is filed substantiating criminal activity occurring on your property."

The bill as written doesn't make the distinction you suggest. If IMPD gets called to Circle Center Mall on 20 separate days during the year for criminal activity and a police report is made describing that criminal activity, then Simon Property Group could be assessed a fee each time once that 5-run threshold is reached. If police are sent on runs to Arsenal Tech High School 15 times during the school year, ditto. Or if you call the police after your garage has been broken into and something stolen from it for the 5th time in a year, you could be assessed a fine assuming a police report documenting the break-in is filed each time.

Gary R. Welsh said...

And I would add that the Indianapolis Star is simply in the business of writing press releases for the city administration so I wouldn't expect anything other than a favorable interpretation of the legislation from them.

Anonymous said...

"THIS IS NOT RIGHT!"

says the guy who:

-never had to call the police on his neighbor.
-never seen drug dealing occurring down the street.
-never seen prostitutes loitering around the house that deals drug in his neighborhood.
-never had a group of drunks hang out at all hours of the day yelling, cursing, and fighting.
-never had someone run a car repair shop from a residential house
-never had a neighbor who leaves trash and junk out in his front/back yard
-never lived next to an apartment building run by a slumlord

the middle class (and up) with their happy little worlds getting angry about laws that will never ever affect them...

Gary R. Welsh said...

Anon, There are plenty of homes and businesses with reputable owners whose property is repeatedly the scene of criminal activity not of their own making. Many of the properties you describe have been abandoned by owners where assessing a fee on the owner will do nothing to abate the problem. If these apartment owners start profiling potential tenants, then they'll be hit with lawsuits for racial discrimination.

Anonymous said...

actually, the City already has in place a program for "profiling" potential tenants as well as a program to aid landlords in extricating themselves from chronic problem tenants - problem being that there's a subset of landlords who haven't much cared as long as the rent gets paid.

This won't take the place of nuisance actions (in which the burden of proof to convince a judge to take action can be pretty high) , nor will it rake in profits for the City. What is might do is provide some food for thought for property owners that would as soon ignore problems on their property that might be resolvable if they simply took the time and effort to do so.

Anonymous said...

Gary, you really do need to ride with a cop some night. I did this past summer and in one night we were at the same complex 6 times…what a waste of time, money and talents…I understand your need to want to hate everything associated with Ballard, this is not about making money, its about being systemically more efficient,

guy77money said...

This is nuts! There are hoops and hurdles that you must go thru to evict a person that rents from you. The question is why can't the cops arrest they nut cases! I know why (I have rented to people like these before)they can't cause believe it or not these people know the law and know how far they can push the police to keep themselves from being arrested. These people are smart! They know how to stay out of jail.

guy77money said...

Change the laws to make it easier to put these people in jail! Oppps now your tramping on their civil liberties! ;)

Can't win can we!

Anonymous said...

I'd rather see Gary do a walk-along or bike-along with a cop. Cops in cars isn't doing anything to make communities safer.

Anonymous said...

Wow...What about the Land Bank deal/obstruction..Connect the dots......Gary, keep it up..

Paul K. Ogden said...

I wonder if it is the same Anon commenting on some of these posts. Even though several of them sound the same, they contradict each other, one saying that a victim of a crime can't be hit with the tax and another clearly stating that they can.

timb said...

"As a police officer, I see this as a great tool to get the attention of landlords with problematic tenants. Getting in the landlord's pocket because he chooses to rent to people who don't play by society's rules is a great idea."

Sure, make them homeless, then the city can put liens on itself.

Look, it's an idea by Mike Young, so you know, prima facie, it's terrible

guy77money said...

Hey Gary don't stop with your blogging. Your doing a great service for the city, county and state! There are a bunch of people out here that agree with you and Paul.

Hey when I rented to idiots no one ever called me to tell me the cops were there I heard it thru the neighbors. The neighbors were better then the police on letting me know what was going on in the neighborhood.

Defeat this silly law!