Today brought a pledge that South Bend will continue to keep a strong police presence in the downtown business district, after all.
Dwindling city resources had threatened to end an overtime program that put officers on foot and bike patrols.
Newfound city resources are being credited for re-establishing the program.
“Due to additional revenue, due to growth in local income tax receipts, there’s going to be over $1 million more for us to work with in this year’s budget,” said Mayor Pete Buttigieg, (D) South Bend.
The mayor says he’ll use $100,000 of the newfound money to keep a police presence in the downtown. The area had been targeted for cutbacks, in part, because only four percent of the city’s crimes take place downtown.
“People use statistics the way they want to taint different things, If you're saying only four percent of our crime is downtown then I guess the patrols work, don't they?” asked Councilman At Large Derek Dieter. “The business owners who have spent years laboring down there have spent millions of dollars making their business successful. they deserve to have the extra overtime patrols downtown.”
“The foot patrols and the bike patrols have been a welcome piece of the puzzle in downtown security so we're happy to hear those will continue in some way shape or form,” said Aaron Perri, Executive Director of DTSB.
Although the administration vows that the shape and form of how the dollars are spent will change. “We’re also looking for a more targeted enforcement. It was brought to my attention meeting with the DTSB and the business leaders this past week, there are just a handful of offenders that are really causing most of the problem,” said South Bend Police Chief Ron Teachman. “We hope to work with the prosecuting attorney identifying those people, bringing them forward on complaints particularly panhandling and aggressive panhandling.”
The administration wants to set aside $100,000 for downtown patrols in 2014 (enough to fund 2,500 man hours) compared to about $150,000 this year.
The additional money will not impact plans to close the downtown police sub-station. Mainly because a cupcake company wants to occupy that space.