Community Safety Initiatives
February 4, 2016 - Today, the City of Lafayette and the Lafayette Police Department come together once again to update the public on progress regarding 2016 community safety Initiatives. We continue with a strong, unwavering commitment to combat issues of crime and drug abuse and a laser focus on quality of life for our residents. The 2015 crime statistics presented today speak to a larger drug abuse epidemic that must be dealt with on a national and local level.
Lafayette Mayor Roswarski emphasizes the collaborative approach that must be taken to ensure success. “It will take a national effort from all of us, regardless of where we live. It will take a commitment to law enforcement, addiction and mental health services, a partnership with the medical community, and the judicial and education system. We must ensure that we strengthen the commitment to pre-K education, all day kindergarten, and programs that get our children started down a positive path, and give people hope.”
Lafayette Police Chief Patrick Flannelly understands the importance of a connected community. “We live in an age of unprecedented access to information. This information, when used appropriately, can provide us with insight that helps guide our decision making and stay connected and safe. Unfortunately, it can also create a disproportionate sense of fear compared to actual reality of existing threats. We are all learning how to balance and manage this access to immediate information in a useful and productive way.”
On a local level, significant research has been done regarding implementation and progression of the city’s crime initiatives:
• The take home car program, announced late last year, is currently being rolled out with a fleet of new, fully equipped, technologically advanced patrol cars. Having police officers living in our neighborhoods is critical. The take home program ensures officer visibility, saves the department money on vehicle maintenance and provides an incentive that encourages new officers to live within the city limits. Currently LPD has 18 take home vehicles and this initiative adds 24 more, for a grand total of 42 vehicles now being placed in neighborhoods.
• We are in the process of adding four more officers to the police department, along with one new dispatcher position. Two positions are being added to the Street Crimes Unit, one position will be added to the Drug Task Force, one position to Crime Prevention, as well as a Sergeant for administrative services. Swearing-in of the new officers is tentatively scheduled for March 12, 2016.
• The expanded downtown parking program is going very well. New boundaries are being enforced by city personnel thus providing the opportunity to clean up more neighborhoods and free up police officers to focus on more serious crimes. The new northern boundary has moved all the way to Greenbush. The east boundary has moved to 18th Street, and the southern boundary to Romig.
• The multifaceted approach to dealing with abandoned houses and unsafe structures is making great progress. To date we have nine abandoned houses on the list and are currently moving through the process to have the structures removed, and by doing so provide a more positive impact on the affected neighborhoods.
• The Lafayette Housing Authority has identified populations that should receive preference over other applicants. Special consideration will be given to the elderly, at risk youth, victims of domestic violence and working families.
• The Lafayette Housing Authority has executed MOUs with local police departments which provides vital assistance in monitoring criminal activity with respect to lease and program violations. The Lafayette Housing Authority has also collaborated with LPD to create monthly criminal activity reports which allow both parties to stay on top of investigations.
• Citizens can now report fraud through the City of Lafayette’s Action Center, located at www.lafayette.in.gov. This sends a strong, citizen-driven message that criminal activity will not be tolerated. Additional enforcement authority is also planned for residential apartment complexes.
• Local faith-based organizations have started to come together and rally in a big way to help solidify a united front against crime. Examples include Faith Ministries Hartford Hub in the Lincoln Neighborhood and First Assembly of God’s commitment to a new community center in south Lafayette.
• Plans for more community revitalization continue, and one of notable impact and collaboration is being implemented for Claystone At The Crossing apartments. Under new management through Integra Property Group, a comprehensive renovation to provide enhanced features and amenities, including new windows, entrances, security cameras and increased lighting, has begun. An aggressive approach to tenant eligibility will also play a major role as groups work together to pro actively reinvent this property and provide a high level of safety for residents.
The community can be assured that work is being done on many levels, the protection of public safety is paramount. Once again we ask everyone to remain proactive, get involved and help send that important message that crime will not be tolerated. Together we can rise to the occasion and help meet the challenge.