Mayor discusses anti-crime plan with congressional leaders

INDIANAPOLIS - Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard received support from Washington for his new anti-crime initiative.

On Thursday, the mayor met with U.S. Congresswoman Susan Brooks and U.S. Congressman Andre Carson to discuss the root causes of crime and his plan to curb it.

After the meeting, both congressional leaders spoke in favor of the mayor’s plan, which calls for more cops on the streets, longer prison sentences for violent gun crimes and providing high-quality early education for at-risk kids.

"What I think is great about this initiative is that we're putting more focus on the root causes by education and getting our kids the education they need starting early so they don't drop out of school, which I think is a new focus. Focusing on the dropouts, which I wouldn't say we've been very focused on the dropouts in this community. And then if we can keep them in school, then that can help them on that career path and job path. But when they drop out they lose hope and the way they make money and take care of themselves is by slinging dope," Brooks said.

"Today’s meeting focused on the issues our city has become all too familiar with -- violent crime, increased drug use and not enough resources. While I think all Hoosiers can agree that something must be done to make Indianapolis safer, today’s meeting was in no way an endorsement of Mayor Ballard’s Early Education and Public Safety Initiative. However, I look forward to continuing to work with the Mayor, Representative Brooks and other city leaders to ensure that Indianapolis remains a great place to live, work and raise a family," Carson said in a statement after the meeting. 

The five-year $25 million plan to expand preschools would provide scholarships to 1,300 at-risk kids in the first year.

The money would come from eliminating the Homestead Tax Credit. It would cost the average homeowner about $22 a year, officials with the mayor’s office said.

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