IBJOpinion

EDITORIAL: Delegating mayor must lead on crime

IBJ Staff
July 13, 2013
Keywords
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
IBJ Editorial

Mayor Greg Ballard isn’t known as a hands-on leader.

His deputies have led efforts to add bike lanes, replace the city’s vehicle fleet with hybrids, and underwrite downtown developments like CityWay.

But simply setting a vision won’t work on crime. It’s time for Ballard to roll up his sleeves, put aside partisanship, and lead on the issue he promised five years ago would be “job one.”

There are no easy fixes for the ugly crime wave this summer. A toxic mix of poverty, unemployment, guns, drugs and desperation can’t all be bottled up and kept under control by more cops on the street.

But more must be done to keep the peace, particularly downtown, where large groups of unruly teens and Saturday-night shootings are putting at risk billions of dollars of public and private investment in the convention and tourism business. Every shooting on the Central Canal or outside Circle Centre mall erodes confidence.

The mayor’s staff points to statistics showing overall crime is down this year. That’s hard to believe given the only crime statistic that can’t be manipulated—the murder rate—is up more than 40 percent. But no matter: This is a perception game, and persistent impressions are left by high-profile incidents like the murder of a 16-year-old July 4 at one of the city’s busiest downtown intersections.

Most of Ballard’s “new” cops on the street are reassigned neighborhood resource officers. Promised future recruiting classes could add 100 officers by 2016, but that won’t even replace those expected to retire.

Ballard vetoed a $6 million allocation from Rebuild Indy funds to pay for new officers. Democrats on the City-County Council picked the number because it matches the amount Ballard is spending on an international sports park including cricket fields.

The mayor cited the need for a pay-as-we-go approach to public safety, arguing the city should use only dedicated, recurring funding sources.

That might sound fiscally prudent, but it’s less so when you consider how much Rebuild Indy money the city is spending on routine road maintenance, and how many dollars of public investment are riding on public safety. The city has borrowed endlessly via a downtown tax increment finance district to keep downtown’s momentum going with new projects.

If crime spirals out of control, the hotels won’t fill beds, the restaurants won’t seat tables, and the convention center won’t reserve its massive halls. And good luck with that bid for the 2018 Super Bowl.

Ballard should call together officials with IndyGo (which ferries many of the trouble-making teens downtown), Simon Property Group Inc. (which manages Circle Centre mall, where large groups of teens gather) and Indianapolis Downtown Inc. to discuss ways to keep crowds under control. And he should ask for help from Democratic Marion County Sheriff John Layton and the state police.

Marshal your resources and find new ones. All the freshly paved roads and bike lanes and new downtown apartments won’t matter much if the residents don’t feel safe.•

To comment on this editorial, write to ibjedit@ibj.com.

ADVERTISEMENT

  • Reap. Sow. Bang. Bang.
    Indy leadership has been blinded by delusions of grandeur. They have earned nothing from places like Detroit and St. Louis, both of which have lost over 60% of their population over the last 50 years while investing ever more in downtowns that are doomed to fail. Meanwhile, cities like Portland, Minneapolis and Denver chose to invest in primarily in livability issues and neighborhoods. They are not crime free, but they are vibrant and safe in a way Indianapolis is not. The poverty that leads to violence doesn't just happen. It is a direct effect of a population that largely attempts to ignore and compartmentalize it. You reap what you sow, Indy. Deal.
  • Take care of your kids
    while it the role of city officials to keep things safe. It is the responsibility of parents to take care of their Children. There are plans in place, Now do your job and watch your kids.
  • Accountability
    Friends recently asked me to dinner downtown. I told them I couldn’t go as my Kevlar vest was at the cleaners. Parents can’t control their kids if they aren’t with them. Enforce parental control; no unaccompanied minors after 4 pm in the downtown area. Until parents are accountable and get their children under control, there’s no hope for the areas currently under siege. If a dog is running loose, creating a nuisance and picked up by animal control, the owner has to pay a fine. Hitting parents in the pocket might grab their attention.
  • crime effort
    Crime is not just about downtown and the murder rate. The increased crime rate has spread to as far north as castleton with broad ripple and glendale areas under seige. More police may not be the answer. But working everyday on the drug issue can be a huge solution. The mayor is clearly asleep at this wheel
  • Take care of your kids !
    While it is the job of city leaders to keep out streets safe. But it is the job of parents to keep watch of their kids. Use the race card or politics. Come on people. Take care of your own,

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. The $104K to CRC would go toward debts service on $486M of existing debt they already have from other things outside this project. Keystone buys the bonds for 3.8M from CRC, and CRC in turn pays for the parking and site work, and some time later CRC buys them back (with interest) from the projected annual property tax revenue from the entire TIF district (est. $415K / yr. from just this property, plus more from all the other property in the TIF district), which in theory would be about a 10-year term, give-or-take. CRC is basically betting on the future, that property values will increase, driving up the tax revenue to the limit of the annual increase cap on commercial property (I think that's 3%). It should be noted that Keystone can't print money (unlike the Federal Treasury) so commercial property tax can only come from consumers, in this case the apartment renters and consumers of the goods and services offered by the ground floor retailers, and employees in the form of lower non-mandatory compensation items, such as bonuses, benefits, 401K match, etc.

  2. $3B would hurt Lilly's bottom line if there were no insurance or Indemnity Agreement, but there is no way that large an award will be upheld on appeal. What's surprising is that the trial judge refused to reduce it. She must have thought there was evidence of a flagrant, unconscionable coverup and wanted to send a message.

  3. As a self-employed individual, I always saw outrageous price increases every year in a health insurance plan with preexisting condition costs -- something most employed groups never had to worry about. With spouse, I saw ALL Indiana "free market answer" plans' premiums raise 25%-45% each year.

  4. It's not who you chose to build it's how they build it. Architects and engineers decide how and what to use to build. builders just do the work. Architects & engineers still think the tarp over the escalators out at airport will hold for third time when it snows, ice storms.

  5. http://www.abcactionnews.com/news/duke-energy-customers-angry-about-money-for-nothing

ADVERTISEMENT