City leaders speak out against recent gun violence

NOW: City leaders speak out against recent gun violence

SOUTH BEND, Ind— On Wednesday the Mayor, the Chief of Police, city council members, and more came together to figure out how to stop the violence in South Bend amid the uptick in deadly shootings in recent weeks.

One of the biggest messages was that it’s going to take everyone in the city including those beyond Wednesday’s meeting.

“We need to come together as a community to stop the violence,” said South Bend Mayor James Mueller.

“When does it stop? When can we allow our kids to be free and play in the front yard and not feel like they’re incarcerated in their own homes,” added Isaac Hunt, the Director of Gun Violence Intervention in South Bend.

South Bend Police said there have been more than 90 shootings in the city this year alone, with three deadly shootings just in the last few weeks and several more on the city’s northwest side involving teen victims.

Which is why city officials said on top of things like adding more street lights and increasing police patrols in those areas, they’re also implementing more support and programs to encourage positive outlets for youth.

“We have a $12 million plan, we have the dream center that’s coming that’s going to be on campus at the Martin Luther King Center and a million dollars for what is called work force development for our youth to gain employment and to teach them trades and things of that nature…” said Sharon McBride, the Vice President of South Bend City Council.

These kinds of steps are something one resident on the city’s west side believes will not only help strengthen the relationship between city leaders and community members, also but encourage them to speak up.

“Of course, we all live by the code, we aren’t going to tattle tale, we aren’t going to snitch on our friend, but if we all out here looking out for one another then it wouldn’t be looked at like that,” said Kyndall Pigee, who Lives in South Bend.

 “We all got to be as one so they need to get to know us and we need to get to know them, that way when a situation does happen like that everybody is quick.”

The biggest message to the community from city leaders and the police to help prevent these crimes and catch those who committed them.

“If we don’t tell who’s responsible and hold them accountable for their behavior and actions, what we’re doing is condoning their behavior and saying it’s alright,” explained retired police officer and long-time resident Lynn Coleman.

“I understand that we do have a job to do absolutely do, but we got to have a starting point. You can’t just make one up. So, until people say something only then we’ll be able to do something,” added South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski.

If you have any information about the recent shootings you can reach out to the South Bend Police Department or Michiana Crime Stoppers at 574-288-STOP to leave an anonymous tip without fear of retaliation.

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