Sunday, January 03, 2016

Star Story Discusses Record Homicide Rate With Blinders

"It's like a war zone: Indy records its deadliest year in 2015," reads the headline in today's Indianapolis Star. The 144 homicides investigated by IMPD this past year, six more than recorded in 2014, beats the previous all-time high of 143 recorded in 1998. Actually, the homicide rate in 1998 reached 162. At some point along the line, the manner for recording homicide statistics for the City of Indianapolis got changed. If you count all of homicides committed in Marion County this year, the homicide rate was actually 150 according to numbers provided by The Star.

The name Greg "Public Safety is Job One" Ballard does not appear a single time in Justin Mack's rather lengthy story. Presumably, the reporter believes his inattention to public safety during his two terms as mayor had no impact on skyrocketing crime on his watch. Mack discusses a "new beginning" under Mayor Joe Hogsett, who has recalled Ballard's third public safety director, Troy Riggs, who walked off the job six months ago in the midst of this past year's record crime spree.
. . . Solving the homicide problem is not something that can be done overnight, but Indy's new leaders say they are committed to navigating the city out of its "public safety crisis."
On Saturday, the day after Mayor Joe Hogsett and Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Chief Troy Riggs took office, they unveiled their plans to fight crime in the city. Their efforts in the first 100 days include expanding the six IMPD focus areas, putting a larger emphasis on community policing and bolstering data collection.
Hogsett said the city will also collaborate with nonprofits and the private sector to address the root causes of violence long term. Issues they plan to tackle include lack of mental health services, unemployment, addiction and education shortcomings.
Laura Albright, a political science professor at the University of Indianapolis, said it is critical that Hogsett stays committed to matters of public safety throughout his mayoral term, not only because of the record-high number of homicides, but because crime-fighting policies were a major part of his election platform.
"The fact that the concern with crime was so central to the mayoral race, in terms of candidates' priorities and in terms of voters' priorities, speaks to just how important the issue is in the community," Albright said. The new mayor "must address it immediately and swiftly."
Albright said the appointment of Riggs and the establishment of his new public safety team has already shown how focused Hogsett is on crime, but he will have to combine the new faces with new polices . . . 
Like it or not, there was little doubt that the person really calling the shots at IMPD from 2012 through 2015 when crime in Indianapolis took a sharp turn for the worse before Riggs' departure last year was none other than Riggs. Exactly what new ideas he has for fighting Indianapolis' crime problem is not self-evident from what is reported in Mack's story. The so-called smart policing using data and targeting hot spots was supposedly implemented under Straub's tenure and continued under Riggs. These Star reporters come and go so they really don't have any historical perspective on anything they write about. Mack, a Cleveland native, only joined The Star in 2014.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Read an interesting article in a Chicago paper this past weekend about that city's own crime problems. Interesting that the one city they compared crime stats to was Indianapolis. While Chcago saw several hundred more homicides than Indy, it is a much larger city, and the homicide rate per 100,000 residents was a lot higher in Indy.

Anonymous said...

the answer lies in a shiny new criminal justice center.

Anonymous said...

I can tell you for a fact that the "Ferguson effect" is partially responsible for the increase in crime here as well as nationwide. Until there is a pro police DOJ, a lot of officers are laying low and doing the minimum. The cons are much greater than the pros for doing proactive police work in the current environment.

Indy Student said...

The "Ferguson effect" is such bull. LEO deaths are virtually at an all time low. There is no safer time to be a cop than now.

http://www.nleomf.org/facts/officer-fatalities-data/year.html

2014 had 117 deaths and 2013 had 107 deaths. You have to go back to 1959 to get to numbers approaching that.

Anonymous said...

Wait for the cry of 150 new officers coming soon from the new administration.

Anonymous said...


More of the legacy of ex-mayor Greg Ballard, ex-Marion County Director tool Kyle Walker, and his wife ex-Ballard promoter/advisor Jennifer Hallowell Walker... three Republicans who were, IMHO, out for themselves only, the Marion County public safety and the stewardship of the "peoples' tax money and public property (as in now-gone free public parking spaces)" be damned.

Gary R. Welsh said...

We already passed another tax increase that took effect this past year to pay for the 150 new police officers. Here's a hint. They will never be hired. Hogsett will sign a new contract with the police and firefighters providing them pay raises in exchange for their endorsements in this past election. There will be no money to pay for the additional officers after the pay raises and continued decimation of the tax base to support the downtown mafia's latest development projects are factored into the equation. A few years down the road the downtown mafia will signal the key players that we have a public safety crisis and the Star and the rest of the media will begin chiming in until the council passes another tax increase and the same scene plays out again.

Pete Boggs said...

Indy Student: It's ridiculous to dismiss the Ferguson effect; made too real by an inciting, culpable & therefore liable media. Is it your position that LEO's don't discuss these matters as relates to their risk?

Anonymous said...


Gary (8:48) is oh so correct that the (oft-used, almost mystical/magical number) 150 police officers will never be hired and the tax monies will be used for 'something else'. Lying Joe Hogsett and his un-elected Co-Mayor Kathy Davis will continue this deception used by corrupt predecessor Gregory Ballard.

And Pete Boggs (8:52) is oh so correct that dismissing the Ferguson Effect is ridiculous and a good part of the reality of this Effect is a culpable, inciting media.

Anonymous said...

Police will continue to do less. Call it what you want. Like firefighters who only respond to fires, not go out and look for them. Police will respond for reports and no longer actively fight crime. They fear prosecution. They fear getting in trouble. They are second guessed and hated. Why would they be proactive? I say sit in your parking lots and take your dispatches. I don’t blame you. Actually, build policehouses like firehouses. Let them sleep, eat, watch tv, play video games, wash their cars, and workout. When crime happens, they’ll suit up and head out. Who wants chili?!

Anonymous said...

11:49:

Bull. Cops caused the Ferguson backlash by thinking themselves kill squads who get to roam the streets killing for sport.

America needs real police, and the first step in getting such a body of public servants is to take the guns away from just about all cops.

Anonymous said...

Indy student, 10:41: No bull here. I believe that my two decades on IPD/IMPD gives me a little street cred on what I speak. If you spend five minutes to research the " Ferguson effect", it has little to do with fear of being killed on duty, rather than losing your job and freedom. Given the current environment, why would I or any other officer do more than the miminum? Less exposure to people like 10:41 means less chance I will get jammed up.

10:41: Kill squads? Really? We are always taking applications .If you think you can handle it, strap up and go run a beat.

Pete Boggs said...

Anon 11:49: Taking guns away from "just about all cops" is a touchdown for stupidity. It's a very small, criminal percentage of police who operate as you blanket mischaracterize; which in no way justifies the media promoted, full blown criminality of the Ferguson effect; for which several media outlets bear, yet to be adjudicated criminal & civil liability.

We need more police; good candidates of all ethnicity, for obvious reasons of efficacy & to counter superficial or aesthetic distractions of color, ignored by state branded theft-ists & their talk in a box narrative / square-ative.

Anonymous said...

This story is not about the Ferguson effect or even Greg Ballard. It's about the revolving door at city hall and how a relatively small cadre of public officials uses central Indiana taxpayers to pad their resumes and pocketbooks. Troy Riggs left the city less than six months ago for the job at IUPUI. At the time, here's what he said:

"To me, it's an opportunity of a lifetime," Riggs said. "IUPUI offers tremendous opportunities to gather data and to explore solutions to a lot of the systemic issues that we're facing, not only as a city, but as a nation."

And yet less than six months later he bails again. He acts like a teenage girl chasing trends. This is not how a loyal public servant acts. This is a guy in it for himself and nothing greater. Anybody who thinks things will improve on his watch is dangerously naive.

Anonymous said...

Right! Exactly. Take the guns and other equipment away from the cops. Equip them with pens and paper. When a crime occurs, dispatch them to it for the report. Cops should never be in a position to defend themselves or a third party. If a call comes in of an active forcible felony or other crime in progress, they should wait and let the citizen or business defend them/itself/selves. Criminals should no longer be afraid of the police or prosecution or any consequence. No more police activity. The cops are now on board with this notion after all the civil unrest and prosecution for them doing their jobs, it's time the we the people allow them to be responders only, not crime fighters.

Downtown Indy said...

Until the really bad guys are put in jail and kept there, not released after a fraction of their sentence is served, violence will continue to escalate. I think they think it's a vacation between 'jobs' to go to jail. Or maybe vocational training.

Pete Boggs said...

Good observation Anon 1:15.