Carp Combs – Photo by Steve Higgs

The 2023 Bloomington State of Public Safety report confirms the obvious. Our city
has become an increasingly dangerous place to live over the past two decades. 
And guns are at the heart of the change, according to the report’s BPD section from
Chief Mike Diekhoff. In 2022, gun crimes occurred every 2.7 days in Bloomington;
someone shot at someone else every 5.2 days. 
In response to this year’s report, The Bloomingtonian and local journalist Steven
Higgs are collaborating to present a multimedia, investigative look into the
precipitous rise in violent crime in Bloomington since 2004, titled: “How Safe is
Bloomington, Really?” 
Part 1 will be published soon. 

The project will revolve around interviews with top community leaders with first-
hand knowledge of this harsh and largely misunderstood Bloomington reality. We
aim to let the community know what’s happening, where it’s occurring and who is at
Part 1 features Perry Township Trustee and former Monroe County Democratic Party
Chair Dan “Carp” Combs, whose office provides emergency aid to southside citizens
in immediate economic crisis. 
No one is more aware of the conditions and politics of our city’s poor than Carp, and
he emphasizes violent crimes aren’t limited to low-income areas. Here’s an excerpt
from Part 1. 
That violent crime isn’t just an issue in low-income areas, Combs cites frequent
shootings at student parties and notes bouncers in downtown bars now wear bullet-
proof vests.
“What kind of job is it in Bloomington, Indiana, that you have to wear Kevlar?” he

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