SBPD reports less gun violence incidents, more shooting victims this year to date

NOW: SBPD reports less gun violence incidents, more shooting victims this year to date

SOUTH BEND, Ind. --- The South Bend Police Department held their quarterly public safety update on Wednesday, and reviewed crime statistics and different strategies used by officers in the months since July.

Mayor James Mueller joined police officials to give an update on the status of hiring officers into the department, as well as discuss some noteworthy crime statistics, including the fact that there are more shooting victims to date this year than there were at this time last year.

“We still see, obviously bringing on more officers, we know that’s something that’s proven in different studies to have impacts on crime,” says Mayor James Mueller.

A main topic of discussion for the South Bend Police Department is getting back to full-staff status for the upcoming year. For two years, the department has been short-staffed, but they are on the right track to reach their goal of 240 officers, with 46 hires in 2022, and 222 current officers.

“We were being pragmatic the last year or two because we were so short and it was hard to see how we would fill that gap in the coming years, so we reduced the number of officers budgeted,” says Mayor James Mueller. “Not because that’s what we were hoping to be at, but because it’s just the reality of where we were, so we increased it back up to 240 going into the 2023 budget.”

The increase in officers has contributed to the decrease in gun violence incidents so far this year, but the same can’t be said for the number of shooting victims.

“We’ve had fewer gun violence incidents than this time last year, however, four more shooting victims,” says Logistics Division Chief Timothy Lancaster for the South Bend Police Department.

The numbers show that recent shooting incidents in South Bend have begun to take more lives. It’s a trend that local officials say may have to do with Indiana’s permit-less carry option which took effect back on July 1st.

“This is the first picture of a permit-less carry environment that we have, and you see it’s mixed. The incidents are down, but the shooting victims are up,” Mayor James Mueller points out.

“The gun recovery, that we’ve taken firearms, is less than it was at this time last year,” says Chief of Police for the South Bend Police Department, Scott Reuzkowski. “That’s, number one, because of less incidents, so the opportunities from those incidents to get those is first and foremost. Secondly, we don’t know for sure, there’s no analytics can say who should have, could have that firearm in order to take it.”

To help prevent and solve crime, the department is looking for feedback from the community on new tools regarding public safety video systems, facial recognition technology, and automated license plate readers.

“We know that this is going to bring effectiveness and efficiency to our department, but we know there are concerns whenever we start talking about these types of technology deployments,” says Mayor James Mueller. “We want to make sure that we’re using these technologies responsibly and in accordance to how the community sees as appropriate.”

Even with the rollout of these new, helpful tools, police and city officials still urge anyone with the information on crimes happening in the city to report them and promote the wellbeing of the community.

“If we had people to come forward, we would number one, solve these a lot sooner, and it’d be a lot less physical and psychological toll on our officers, and our community,” Ruszkowski says.

Feedback for SBPD's new technological tools

Share this article: