The spread of crime in Indianapolis has reached a point where once problem-free areas are at risk, says Scott Newman, the city’s new public safety director, according to the Indianapolis Star. “The battle for the future of Marion County is being carried out in a ring that circles the inner city,” he said. “It’s a battle for quality of life. If we don’t win, we’ll have a hollowed-out community.”
Newman, the former county prosecutor, has been taking that message to police in a series of appearances to introduce himself at roll calls. He also has joined them on patrols. With a reputation as a hard-charger, Newman’s expected to bring a fresh perspective to the problems facing police. He appears to be working on lifting morale in a department still struggling with resentment over its merger last year with the Marion County Sheriff’s Department. Homicides were down 19 percent from a record high in 2006, though last year’s total of 124 exceeded that of every other year this decade. Robberies were up 26 percent, aggravated assaults increased 36 percent, and residential burglaries increased 20 percent.