Friday, June 30, 2006


I am sure that this is a good idea. Clean places, clean neighborhoods may see less crime. However, has anyone thought that maybe clean neighborhoods see less crime because they are the neighborhoods where people care about their houses and take care of things naturally? Just my thoughts. Ultimately, criminals don't care about their surroundings when they rob you. Why don't we spend the man power on ousting the drug dealer everyone knows about in the neighborhood, or the gambling house Monroe Gray is hanging out at.

The Story (in part):

Nillie Urick's block typifies the general state of the Bates-Hendricks neighborhood: Weeds push through cracks in the sidewalk along disintegrating curbs, while debris litters the backyards of several vacant houses.

On Thursday, the Near-Southside neighborhood served as the starting point for a summerlong effort to lower the city's rising crime problem.

According to police statistics, the overall crime rate in Bates-Hendricks is 131.86 incidents per 1,000 residents -- much higher than Marion County's rate of 83.41 incidents per 1,000 residents.

Representatives from Mayor Bart Peterson's office, Indianapolis Police Department officers and crews from agencies including the Department of Public Works gathered not far from Urick's house Thursday morning to kick off the effort.

They picked up 50 tons of trash and used 25 tons of asphalt to fill potholes in alleys and streets. Ten streetlights were repaired, and 55 street signs were repaired or replaced. The city also issued citations to owners of abandoned and poorly maintained lots, though exactly how many was not immediately known.

The effort is part of a wider anti-crime push announced earlier this month by the mayor and police officials that includes increased police patrols in crime-ridden areas. As of mid-June, homicides in the county had increased more than 43 percent -- to 63 from 44 -- over the same time last year. Burglaries were up more than 25 percent in the first quarter.
Kevin Sifferlen of the Mayor's Office of Neighborhood Services said 20 areas of the city have been slated for attention.

Though city officials were optimistic that their efforts will blunt crime, residents were skeptical.
"I'd love to see (Bates-Hendricks) cleaned up. But how long would that last? I don't think it'll really help with the crime," said Urick, 47, who has lived in the area for almost five years.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Gray Matter

Tully delves into why we don't want to put more people in jail:

If you see City-County Council President Monroe Gray walking down the street, tell him thanks.
But make sure your voice has a big heap of sarcasm in it.

Say something like, "Hey, Mr. President, thank you sooooo much for showing me how low politics can go."

Because Gray woke up long enough the other day to win the Political Low Blow of the Week. Using his lofty post, he put a silly political roadblock in front of efforts to combat crime.

Let me explain.

For years, Indianapolis has released inmates early because of jail crowding. Often, these criminals celebrate their sudden freedom by doing fun things like robbing convenience stores and breaking into your homes. In April, the county released 381 such inmates.
With that, as well as startling increases in crime, many local leaders are talking in productive ways about solutions. Prosecutor Carl Brizzi has an idea: Send 250 inmates to a state prison in New Castle.

The plan has critics. It's costly, they say. And it veers from the long-term strategies many hope will someday end early releases.

That's fine. Maybe Brizzi's plan is a smart fix; maybe it's short-sighted. That's what debates are for, right?

Not so, says President Gray. In a decision that he has stumbled to defend, Gray refused to let council Republicans even introduce Brizzi's proposal.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Mayor and Sheriff Start Stand-Up Careers

The Mayor and Sheriff started today with a press conference saying they are going to get tough on crime. What a great idea. 7 years into their tenure as guardians of the city, they are finally getting tough on crime. But, instead of a solution that will help keep more people off the street, they are simply going to add more officers to the street. So, with more officers, they can arrest more people, send more people to jail that can be release early.

I will admit, I am not an expert in crime fighting, but if we are arresting more people for petty, simple curfew violations, won't that just add to the jail crowding problem? Wouldn't this idea work better if we had somewhere to put these criminals?

So, why Mayor, after a solution of using other counties, and State owned jail beds, do you come up with this idea? Why are you a day late on trying to protect the people of Indy?

It is time that the Mayor stops playing politics with our safety! It is time that the Mayor stops his partisan ways and starts doing what is right!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Sheriff Finally Does Something

On WIBC today:

Marion County Sheriff's Deputies are stepping up their crime fighting efforts to deal with a big increase in robberies throughout the county. Sheriff’s Capt. Doug Scheffel says they’re shifting some resources and moving more deputies into the robbery division. He says the new robbery deputies are coming from several areas. “Officers who are currently assigned to the safe streets office… and some officers that are currently in narcotics,” he says. Scheffel says deputies have been making lots of robbery arrests this year, but it hasn’t put a dent in the problem. He says this shift will allow the department to address the problem “head on.” Last weekend, a pizza deliveryman was robbed and shot – the third robbery of a pizza delivery driver in just a few days. Deputies say they won’t tolerate this situation, and plan to make the environment uncomfortable for criminals and would-be robbers.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Jailed it on the Head

In the wake of one of the most horrific crimes to be committed in this city, people are finally starting to listen, and talk about the very reals problems our city is in. There are a number of articles in the Star today dealing with the rise in crime and jail overcrowding.

It is sad that something terrible like this event has to happen before anyone will pay attention to it. However, it appears to be the positive out of this very sad story.

For too long, we've focused on the glitz -- big stadiums, a snazzy Downtown, the out-of-control public library project. But in a city that isn't safe, such extras are meaningless. "I've been saying this for three years," said a frustrated Marion County Prosecutor Carl Brizzi. "I've been begging those in charge of economic development and how our taxes are spent to put our money into public safety."

Instead, we've looked away from the broken window.
This puts us all at risk. Just ask those on Hamilton Avenue.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Democrats: Making It Up as They Go

One of the posts on Matt Tully’s blog this afternoon is focused on the looming communications battles between Indiana’s two major political parties. Both of the parties seem to be gearing up for a rhetoric filled election cycle. This should be no surprise since, well, that’s what political parties do.

What was a little surprising is a comment posted by the State Democrats Communications Director Jen Wagner. Her comment can be read below.


I think Robert's a great guy, but I question the party's decision to
lambast our statewide ticket on the day of the announcement. There's something
of an unspoken rule in politics -- broken by Carl Brizzi's campaign folks
earlier this year -- that you let a candidate have one day of glory before you
take after him or her in the media.

I hope the state GOP doesn't follow Gov. Mitch Daniels' undignified way of berating those with whom he disagrees. There's a real need for decorum in politics these days; without it, we run the risk of losing mainstream interest in a system that very much needs the public's attention.

Really, who wants to hear a bunch of politicos sniping at each other all the time? It's entertaining for the insiders, but it doesn't serve much of a greater purpose.
Regardless of what the GOP decides to do, rest assured that we'll give their candidates a day in the limelight before heating up the campaign skewers.

Rather than high jacking Matt’s blog to respond, I decided to do a post of my own in response.

It’s hard not to think of the word hypocrisy when reading Wagner’s statements about no one being interested "a bunch of politicos sniping at each other." Anyone who has read her blog knows that it seems to be all she’s interested in and she clearly enjoys it immensely.

Also, Wagner is making up her own rules as she goes and then pretending that they are the unwritten rules of politics. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but one political operative’s opinion does not an “unwritten rule” make.

If candidates aren't ready to begin the debate the day they announce, they aren't prepared for the campaign. This is the world of professional politics and it’s not a game of two-hand touch in the front yard. This is the NFL. Any candidate who runs for office and isn’t aware of this fact is living in a dream world.

There is no waiting period for any candidate. And if you don’t like being mocked, work hard to make sure that candidates are ready for the battles ahead by say, knowing the name of the opposing candidate.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Things That Make You Go Hmmm…

Today the Democrats announced another of their statewide candidates. Vigo County Commissioner Judy Anderson will be seeking the State Auditor’s post…but she doesn’t seem to know who she’ll be running against. She’ll be running against current State Treasurer Tim Berry, but clearly the staff over at Democrat Headquarters didn’t properly prep her for interviews.

Jim Shella lays it out for us on his blog:

Vigo County Commissioner Judy Anderson is the Democratic candidate for Auditor. She will face Republican Tim Berry in the November election but at a news conference this afternoon referred to her opponent as "Todd." The apparent reference to Secretary of State Todd Rokita produced anguished looks on the faces of party staffers who later said she simply misspoke.

She “misspoke?” The FIN would think that it goes without saying that candidates should know the names of their opponents. Talk about amateur hour--could it be that the State Democrats are too busy running a blog to properly screen and prepare their candidates?

It Could Happen Here!!!

A terrible thing occurred in Grant County. I don't want to take anything away from that. However, it brings about an important topic. How qualifications, for cororner, and more generally, to all elected offices is essential.

Go to his site:

When you find out where he went to medical school and what qualifications he has to be the cororner of this county, let me know. He is a chiropractor. Not a medical doctor. He fixes people's backs. He has no ability or knowledge to perform an autopsy. Yet he is in office.

The list of unqualified elected officials or candidates could go on for a long time. It is essential that people look at, and consider what can happen with unqualfied people in office. These are not political arguments. These officials have a profound effect on everyone's lives on a daily basis. For a political party to nominate and then support a person that is completely oblivious as to what the job requries is offensive and irresponsible.

It is only after it is too late, that instances like this show their ugly heads. What happens if Greg Bowes makes bad assessments to property and costs the city a lot of much needed money simply because he has no idea what he is doing as an assessor? What happens if Melina Kennedy makes a terrible decision on charging someone for a crime because she has never prosecuted a case?

I am not saying any of these people are bad people. I am not saying that they shouldn't run for an office. I am just saying, if you want to be an elected offical, run for an office that you will know how to run. Run for an office that you are qualified to hold.

These are real jobs where your customers are your constituents. These are not jobs you get to try and jump start your political career. You need experience and qualifications. It is the simplest thing you can do, and yet, many think that they are above it, too good to be in the trenches to learn the job.

Computer Glitches

The FIN is back after suffering through some computer problems. What is in the news today, again, crime problems, and more consolidation conundrums. Nothing ever seems to change.

The Star reports today that murders are up 46% so far this year in Indianapolis. That number is frightening to anyone that lives in the city. The Mayor's solution for increased crime came in the paper yesterday when he proposed increasing the police on the streets by 22. WOW! That should do it.

Speed limits on police chases??? So, if we drive fast enough we get away?? Really! Why would this be made public? Why could we just have a un-written rule.