Dear MAC

There are shootings and murders in Indianapolis on the news all the time but it seems that violent crime was down in Montgomery County in 2013. Is that true? 

Rural Gal

Dear Rural,

I asked Crawfordsville Police Chief Mike Norman and Montgomery County Sheriff Mark Casteel for their thoughts on the subject. Neither men had the numbers in front of them but they said their perception is that violent crime was down last year. 

"When you think about it, it seems that is right," Norman said. "We still have the DARE program. We try to increase our patrols at key times, at times when experience tells us we should."

"I hate to say yes, absolutely, without pulling the numbers but I think that is a safe assumption," Casteel said. "We've had our share for sure."

Casteel mentioned the murder of a former county commissioner, Sam Kessler, in January, 2012, and the Ladoga bank robbery. 

The Indiana State Police are investigating the Kessler murder but Casteel pointed out it happened in Montgomery County. 

"Any violent crime is too much, but I think we're fortunate when you look at what's going on over there in Indianapolis."

When asked why violent crime seems to be down, Casteel pointed to the proactive things the Sheriff's Department has done.

"We're out more, patrolling more," Casteel said. "I think we've done more to connect with the communities. Even little things like attending the festivals, adding detectives. Now we have three; in the past we've had only one detective. I think that helps in solving crimes."

Casteel pointed out there are several programs for inmates in the jail, such as Alcoholics Anonymous and helping inmates obtain a GED diploma. But the programs cannot be measured for their direct contribution to lessening crime, though Casteel said he hopes they are effective.