For a Mayor whose administration has been uncommonly secretive about information his constituents have a right to know, Mayor Ballard seems totally unaware of the damage that can come from TMI–too much information.
Ballard has been very defensive about his administration’s inability to reduce our horrendous crime rate (which is substantially higher than New York’s). That’s understandable. He has also insisted that the problem won’t be solved simply by adding more police, although he has conceded that IMPD is far, far below optimal staffing. A couple of days ago, he announced–with considerable fanfare–that the officers we do have will be deployed differently; that more police will be assigned to neighborhoods experiencing the most crime.
Okay. Maybe that helps, maybe not, but certainly reasonable.
The problem is, he identified those neighborhoods.
If you think about this for a minute–something I’m fairly confident no one in the Mayor’s office did–you can see the problem. Each area identified has neighborhood organizations, urban pioneers, nonprofits and others working hard to improve these communities and trying to encourage people to move in and become part of the area’s revitalization struggle. The administration has effectively undercut those efforts, labeling their neighborhoods as places people shouldn’t want to live.
The city might just as well have posted “Danger, Keep Out” signs.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, folks living in other neighborhoods–areas with problems that aren’t “the worst”–look at the Mayor’s deployment strategy and worry that the already thin police presence in our neighborhoods will decline, inviting a corresponding rise in crime. (If I were a burglar, I’d certainly consult that map–and confine my nighttime activities to non-targeted areas.)
The strategy of deploying resources to areas that most need those resources is fine. Announcing the specifics is bone-headed.
And this from an Administration that ignores legitimate Freedom of Information requests and refuses to share truly public information with the public.