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LAFAYETTE, IN - September 24, 2015 - The City of Lafayette and the Lafayette Police Department have come together to address concerns that people have in the Lafayette community about crime, and present components of a comprehensive, ongoing strategy to help keep our community and our neighborhoods safe. This proactive approach is driven by actual crime statistics, the perception of crime and a strategic plan developed by the Lafayette Police Department and other city municipal departments, to combat crime in our area.
The Lafayette Police Department is a highly trained, highly equipped, professional police department that is committed to this community. Currently we have a Street Crimes Unit, K-9 Units and a Detective’s Unit, along with Evidence Technicians and Detectives assigned specifically to white-collar and financial crimes. Detectives constantly review technology to protect our children and track sex offenders. The Lafayette Police Department participates in the Tippecanoe County Drug Task Force, a Community Outreach Divi¬sion and Crime Prevention. We have a highly trained SWAT Team and Civil Disturbance Unit, and a Crime Analyst on staff. This is just a small sampling, yet the reality is we need to take additional steps.
Moving forward, in 2016 several initiatives have been put in place:
• The vast majority of our violent crime is drug driven. We will realign our strategy regarding street crimes and drug task force to include five sworn officers and one civilian dispatcher within the police department, dedicated specifically to these areas. Taking our officer total up to 142 officers.
• To increase police visibility and engagement in our neighborhoods we are implementing an expanded take-home police car program. Through this program we will offer take-home vehicles to each officer that lives within the city limits.• Expansion of the Crime Prevention Unit within the Lafayette Police Department will allow greater intereaction between police officers, citizens and businesses.
• Parking enforcement efforts will expand to boundaries beyond central downtown. This expansion will provide additional coverage to our core downtown neighborhoods for quality of life initiatives regarding parking and city ordinance violations, as well as free up officers in those areas to dedicate more time to crime and prevention efforts. The expanded parking enforcement will also allow ordinance violations to be handled much more effectively and quickly.
• A new state law now provides municipalities with the tools to deal with the increasing number of abandoned properties through the abandoned property tax. The abandoned property tax can speed up the sale of these abandoned properties and allow responsible property owners to acquire them at a more reasonable price while encourage investments that contribute positively to the neighborhood.
• The City of Lafayette Community Development Department has recently consolidated into the Lafayette Housing Authority. This move will help with communication and program efficiency. The Lafayette Housing Authority has a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with the Lafayette Police Department, the West Lafayette Police Department and the Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s Department which will also allow for more effective sharing of information.
These initiatives are just a start to a comprehensive approach that moving forward must also incorporate more programs and support from local, state and federal officials. The City of Lafayette and the Lafayette Police Department are dedicated to seeking opportunities and resources that will create safer environ¬ments, grow stronger neighborhoods and educate the public on how to pro actively combat crime and increase positive connections with law enforcement. But the truth is, we can’t do it alone.
Mayor Roswarski concludes with a call to action for the entire community. “We need everyone to get involved and declare, ‘not in our city’, ‘not in my neighborhood’. Communicate with the police department, communicate with each other, build relationships and get involved. Rally behind our police department and show support to the heroic men and women that put their lives on the line each and every day for this community. The best way to solve issues of crime is to make certain that people involved in criminal activity know there is a cohesive relationship between the citizens of this community and its police department. There has to be a bond.”
A video of today’s press conference is located online at the City of Lafayette, Indiana You-Tube page. More information about community safety initiatives, crime reporting and other stories from our Lafayette Police Department programs can be found at www.lafayette.in.gov and www.lafayettepolice.us#SafeNeighborhoods