Mayor Greg Ballard is making the rounds and spent some time in Wayne Township last week, holding one of his Mayor’s Night Out meetings at the Chapel Hill 7th & 8th Grade Center.
He started the meeting talking about crime.
“Generally speaking, the city is doing well,” Ballard said. “But cities are judged by the number of homicides and we are worried about that.”
The number of homicides in the city spiked in 2013 to 146 for the year. The city has already experienced 49 this year.
“Our officers have been worried about this for a long time,” he said. “More of us need to be worried about these numbers.”
Ballard said the amount of individuals re-offending after spending time in jail is also up.
“The police are re-arresting these people over and over again,” he said. “And we wonder why tragic things happen.”
He said many criminals find jail time as a “cost of doing business.”
“They know they’ll be arrested,” he said. “They do their time and then get right back into the family business.”
Ballard and IMPD Chief of Police Richard A. Hite said the rise in crime rates are directly correlated to the rise of heroin and other drug use.
“First of all, I would like to say I work for you,” Hite said. “Second, tell us what’s going on. If you see something suspicious, call. The more information we have, the easier it is for us to do our job.”
He said the IMPD is in existence to keep the community safe.
“It’s our job to make you feel safe,” Hite said. “We have a new class of 50 that will be starting at the (Indiana) Law Enforcement Academy on June 2.”
One of the initiatives the mayor is working on is the “Your Life Matters” program. The program specifically targets the reduction of black-on-black crime.