Mayor optimistic about new strategy to reduce gun violence

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- This week, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg along with law enforcement and community members are working together to implement a new strategy to reduce violence in the city.

It’s called the ‘South Bend Group Violence Reduction Strategy’.

The mayor is optimistic the new strategy will in fact lower gun violence here in south bend. But he says it’s not guaranteed.

This past week has been hectic for south bend police—three shootings in just three days.

And exactly one week ago tonight, two women were gunned down at Martin’s in neighboring Elkhart.

The mayor says it is time now to take action against gun violence.

“One of the things that tragedy showed us is that no community is immune to the kind of violence that happens around America. And that makes it more urgent for us to have the right strategies, and more than anything a community commitment,” he said.

That strategy is called the group violence reduction strategy.

Co-chaired by South Bend Police Chief Ron Teachmen. The program unites 30 community members from different backgrounds.

It will focus on preventing crime in groups most associated with gun violence, with the ultimate goal of saving lives.

And the center piece of the plan--a series of call in meetings with gang members police have identified as likely shooters.

“It’s very powerful if you make sure you have the moral voice of the community and law enforcement and social services all working in concert. Sending a message to these people involved in violent groups, we know who you are. We know what you’re doing. It’s hurting us and you’ve got to stop. We’ll help you if you’re ready to make a change but we’ll stop you if you make us,” said Mayor Buttigieg.

The mayor says city’s that have implemented this strategy have seen double-digit percentage reductions in homicides.

And with several recent shooting here it’s time for us to do the same.

“We know that we need to confront better strategies to confront violence. It’s encouraging that homicide was down 50 percent last year. But any murder in our city is too many.”

The anti-violence has met three times. They say a lot of time and research goes into the planning of these crime prevention techniques before they can be tested.

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