Police efforts hampered by unreported crimes

INDIANAPOLIS - Indianapolis police say they're working hard to fight crime in the city, but their efforts are often hampered when crimes go unreported.

According to the FBI, as much as half of all crime in the U.S. goes unreported – even by those who witness it.

"They believe and have scientifically proven that 30-50 percent of all crime in this nation is unreported," said Indianapolis Public Safety Director Troy Riggs.

In Indianapolis, police say that's having a negative impact in their war on crime.

Last year alone metro police arrested more than 50,000 people, many of them responsible for multiple crimes. But so many other crime victims chose to suffer in silence.

Cindy Alexander says she's be victimized a number of times, but hasn't ever reported the crimes.

"I've had bikes stolen out of my driveway, plants stolen off of my porch," Alexander said. "I've had people come up behind me and play that knock-out game where they punch you in the back of the head. But I don't report any of it."

People victimized by so-called petty thefts and property crimes have also decided against calling police. The lack of reporting serves as a commentary on the criminal justice system's ability to deal with crime, large and small.

"I don't want to make the police sound bad or anything like that," Alexander said. "But often you just give up and say OK, we'll deal with it. We'll go buy new tires or we'll buy another bike and just go on with it."

IMPD says it needs citizens to report all crime, large and small, violent and non-violent. The Dept. of Public Safety has invested $15 million into a new and ultra-sophisticated crime data tracking system. Without citizen input, police can't develop crime patterns, effectively deploy resources and catch the bad guys.

"When we are finished building  this we will be able to track data, plan for the future, see where the hot spots are, look at major suspects … and not only the known suspects, but their accomplices," Riggs said.

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