Communities across the country took part in a national Night Out Against Crime on Tuesday. In Elkhart, Police used the opportunity to talk about their first ever Project 365, which is an effort to clean up the city’s west-central side.
Assistant Police Chief Timothy Balyeat said before officers took to the streets, prostitution, break-ins, drug deals, and violence were prominent problems in the area.
“We made a strong, concentrated effort in the last twelve months to try and reverse that trend, and I think we’ve seen a noticeable difference down there,” Balyeat said.
ABC 57 asked residents at the event if they have seen a difference in their neighborhood. Some said they think the crime is just flying under the radar, but the majority said they have seen a huge difference.
“I feel very safe. And I’m happy to say that I love to live in my area and it’s a lot better than what’s normal,” said 16-year-old Tarin Witherspoon.
Witherspoon said the project is working, and officers are doing a great job, “I’ve noticed that they have more cop units around to help keep crime out of the area , there hasn’t been too many break ins , and it’s a lot better.”
Balyeat said crime is down across the board , but officers are not letting their guard down in the area.
“We’re not getting as many complaints in on our tip line, as far as crime, crack houses, and stuff. Does that mean for me to tell you it doesn’t exist? No, that’s not true at all. But we’ve seen a continual drop as far as intelligence coming in,” he said.
The Elkhart City Fire Department is expected to announce the new target area for the next Project 365 within a week.