Public safety puts focus on cutting crime in 2014

Two people were shot during an armed robbery at an Indianapolis apartment complex.

Two people were wounded in an attempted armed robbery Monday on the northwest side of Indianapolis, the second such attack in two days.

The crimes are ones Indianapolis' public safety director hopes to cut down in 2014.

"He said, 'Give me your purse' and a second person surprised me," said Kathleen Jones, who was robbed at gunpoint Sunday night.

Jones had arrived home in the Fall Creek area where she has lived for 25 years and has always felt safe.

"The one guy had come on the sidewalk in front of that car. The other guy was hiding and they, like, ambushed me," she said.

"We need everyone's eyes and ears to make a safer community," said Public Safety Director Troy Riggs.

Despite the city seeing an increase in shootings, Riggs believes you can't base the departments success and failures on them, saying "The difference between an aggravated assault and a homicide is quite frankly is sometimes where the bullet has landed. This year, more people have died as a result of those shootings. What citizens may be surprised to learn is that violent crime is actually down this year and shootings seem to be down as well. We haven't had an increase in violence. We haven't had an increase in shootings. We have had an increase in people dying as a result of those shootings."

Both attacks come as Riggs prepared to announce the city's 2013 successes in crime fighting and talk about the challenges they face in 2014. He is convinced drugs is one of the common denominators behind violent crimes.

"These types of crimes are associated with heroin use, people looking for money for heroin. We had, at minimum, 95 people die from heroin overdose use last year," Riggs said.

He says in 75 percent of the crimes they investigate, the victims have been in trouble, too. So until they get a grip on the violence, he wants innocent victims like Jones to call 911 about suspicious activity.

"I didn't trust my instincts. If it doesn't look right, it's not right," Jones said.