A citywide Indianapolis campaign encouraging residents to report crimes was launched yesterday with community leaders unveiling a new billboard saying: “It’s not snitching — it’s caring.” The Indianapolis Star says the billboards are a key component of Peace in the Streets, started in 2004 by a group of young people affiliated with Christamore House in an effort to curtail violent crimes through marketing initiatives such as armbands and T-shirts.
This is the first year it has become a “major city initiative,” said a spokesman for Mayor Greg Ballard. The message is new, aimed at combating the common perception in crime-ridden communities that reporting a crime carries a connotation of snitching. Police Chief Michael Spears encouraged residents to report crimes through Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana, an anonymous tip line, or to inform police through calls, e-mails, letters or visits. Spears said violent crimes in the city this year have declined from 2007, which saw lower rates than the near-record high of 2006. There’s been an increase in crimes such as theft. Peace in the Streets Director Aaron Williams said the goal is to put billboards in neighborhoods with high crime rates. If a violent crime occurs, he said, he hopes a billboard can be put in that area within 24 hours.