Police, city services to team up to fight crime

A new plan was introduced to have police and city services communicate better.
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The city is looking for new tactics to battle a rising crime rate.

There's a plan to have beat cops working more closely with city services. The idea is to have police and an assortment of different agencies, working on the same problems at the same time, speaking the same language.

It will be difficult, but the rewards officials say could be great.

In the near west side Haughville neighborhood, there are high weeds, high numbers of abandoned houses and high anxiety for people at home here.

Mildred Cheers' neatly trimmed and landscaped front yard is in the middle of it.

"I feel bad, yes," she said with a concerned look.

Is she scared?

"Yes, I feel scared too. I feel scared," Mildred answered.

People should be scared. Not long ago, the remains of three bodies were found inside a nearby abandoned house.

Emma Michem is afraid of what might turn up any day in the overgrown lots surrounding her home. The weeds are five-feet tall.

"Different ones have called trying to get help," she said.

And what good does it do?

"Well, you can see the high weeds," Mildred quipped.

And even when police, or any one particular city agency tries to help, they can create new problems.

We've seen numerous neighborhoods where residents complain about drug dealers. Police move in, haul off the dealers, but leave a home with broken doors and windows that's an open invitation for other troublemakers to move in.

What if public safety, public works, public health, and other public agencies alerted each other to potential problems, and coordinated their efforts?

"It's very difficult," admitted Public Safety Director Troy Riggs, but he wants it done.

Studies have found the less neighborhoods are cared for, the more likely they are to be victimized by crime.

"When a police officer makes a run and sees a code enforcement issue, then code enforcement can come in quickly right after. If they see an animal control issue, then Animal Control going to be there immediately," Riggs explained.

Or workers from other public service agencies could quickly alert police to potential problems.

Riggs sounded hopeful.

"The end result is a greatly enhanced quality of life for citizens of Indianapolis. That's what we are shooting for," he said.

For people frightened by shootings and other crimes and frustrated by the city's inability to provide the help they need.

Riggs wants recommendations from his so-called "efficiency team" by mid-September. By the end of this month, Riggs expects to have a plan to move 100 police officers from their current positions to patrol cars.

Friday, he will announce IMPD's Summer Violent Crime Fighting Plan, intended to combat the city's rising crime rate.