Mishawaka residents calling for an end to gun violence
MISHAWAKA, Ind. --- A community group came together after a string of shootings in Mishawaka just in the last week. From the north side to the west end, residents called for an end to all the violence.
“It’s concerning and it’s all over the city. We formed this one over the summer. We started meeting informally because of shootings,” said John Banes, the Cofounder of Mishawaka’s West end Neighborhood Watch Group.
Banes has been living in the west end neighborhood for over a decade and has witnessed the increase in violence in his own community.
As the cofounder of the recently formed neighborhood watch group he’s among other citizens, Mishawaka Police and council members who showed up to the group’s second watch meeting.
“I really wanted the neighbors of this area to come together, to stand up for themselves, to fight for what they believe in,” said Mishawaka City Councilwoman at Large, Maggie DeMaegd.
“We became very concerned and we thought we’ve got to take action. We can’t just sit here and do nothing and hold our tongues. We need to speak up and stand up and say we want something better,” added Banes.
Five shootings have happened in the city over the span of just a week, including a deadly shooting last Monday on East 12th street in the west end neighborhood.
Across the city on north side long-time residents near Hickory Road where three of those shootings happened were also concerned for their safety.
“It’s scary honestly nobody likes to be around that,” said William Hoffmann who lives on Mishawaka’s Northside. “You know I’d like to think I live in a pretty peaceful neighborhood, but apparently that’s not the case I guess, which is not great. We’ve got a lot of families around here a lot of kids, it’s not cool.”
Residents and officials not only called on the city, but on other community members to step up.
“The city departments, the police department, the mayor’s office they listen. They do listen, they do take into account what the citizens are saying, I would love to see as most people would love to see more officers on the street,” said DeMaegd.
“We need to help the police with anything that we can. Anybody experiencing this kind of crime as a city has to do the same thing. You can’t just pull the blinds, step back and pretend it didn’t happen and it’s not your problem because it is your problem,” added Banes.
The neighborhood watch is holding monthly meetings, speaking out at city council meetings, and encouraging other neighborhoods to form similar groups.