Mayor Ballard Writes the Post We Didn’t
March 28, 2011 7 Comments
We did not write on it since we were on hiatus and we thought the plan was a lot of political talk that sounds good but does not really accomplish anything. You can judge for yourself by reading it.
Mayor Ballard had an op-ed printed in today’s IndyStar that addresses the issues we saw in the plan so we aren’t going to re-create the wheel.
Public safety is Job One. I ran on that platform in 2007, and I devote constant attention to making our streets safer. One of our first actions was to return responsibility for the police department to the mayor. We are transforming the training of our police officers and investing in new equipment, vehicles and technology. We are aggressively pursuing that small group of criminals who cause most of the problems.
Our efforts to increase safety are working. Last year, the number of homicides dropped to the lowest level since 1995; and we are on pace to have even fewer homicides this year. Violent crime is lower. Overall crime is lower. You are safer on the streets of Indianapolis. We are making dramatic improvements.
Recently the issue of illegally possessed guns has been a topic of discussion in The Indianapolis Star. Some people think the answer lies with amnesty for criminals, signing a national gun control petition and closing the so-called “gun show loophole.” Others have suggested the creation of a special unit within the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department tasked with addressing illegal guns.
Let me be clear. I do not support amnesty programs for gang members, drug dealers or people who use guns in the commission of a crime. I will not sign a national gun control petition, especially one that does not remove a single illegally possessed gun from our streets. Creating a special police unit might score political points, but it detracts from the real police work being done, work that seized nearly 2,000 illegally possessed guns last year.
We focus on tactics that work and make our streets safer. IMPD special units aggressively and relentlessly focus on tracking down gang members and drug pushers, the two groups using guns to commit crimes in Indianapolis. Since I took office, we have made nearly 5,000 drug arrests, executed more than 700 search warrants, seized more than $19 million in drug money, and taken nearly 690 pounds of cocaine, 16,200 pounds of marijuana, and 26,000 grams of heroin off the streets.
When it comes to the so-called “gun show loophole,” let’s focus on the facts. Current law requires all professional gun dealers to run a background check prior to sale, regardless of whether that sale is taking place in a retail store or a gun show. According to the FBI, 0.7 percent of criminals purchased their weapons at gun shows. Most criminals purchase their guns from other criminals on the streets or they steal them. That’s where IMPD is focused.
Education and community partnership are also keys to helping address this problem. I want to praise Sheriff John Layton for working to distribute gun locks for legally possessed firearms. I also want to thank the many community groups and local faith-based organizations working to increase awareness of gun safety and encourage people to turn in illegally possessed or unwanted firearms.
We are addressing the real issue with real actions. It is an issue we take to heart because we have witnessed senseless tragedies in our community and lost one of our own as a result of illegally possessed firearms. But, a national petition, amnesty programs and more government bureaucracy are not the answer. Continuing the aggressive and relentless work of our hardworking men and women of IMPD, our drug and gang task forces and our county, state and federal partners are.
Ballard is mayor of Indianapolis.