Answers sought regarding increase in violence in St. Joseph County

(Photo supplied/South Bend Police)

With a record number of people having been killed in a homicide this year in St. Joseph County, community leaders are wanting answers as to what the city is planning to do to try and stop the growing trend.

Many law enforcement leaders attribute the increase in violence to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our kids are killing each other. If you really look at who is doing the shooting, young men ages 15 to about 25,” said common councilor Troy Warner. “We have to come up with some options that pull them out of this life and give them a different path.”

In the last decade, one of those options the city has invested in what are known as Group Violence Intervention efforts in order to try and stop violent behavior among young people in South Bend before it starts.

It’s similar to what Indy Ten Point Coalition does in Indianapolis, except South Bend’s GVI program gets more in the way of funding from the city.

“The city has made a major investment in group violence intervention, and that investment was made 6 to 7 years ago,” GVI Program Manager Romona Bethany said. “Since then, the city wants to know, our community needs to know, what is the return on the investment?”

Part of the program is using community members that work with the S.A.V.E Outreach Program, which these members to be called to the scene of a shooting to act as mediators between law enforcement and civilians.

Though police chief Scott Ruszkowski is all for any efforts to bridge that gap, he said he’d still like to see more community involvement even without the S.A.V.E. program.

“People talk about interrupters and interventions, and I am totally not against that. But we have them and they are called family, friends and the community,” Ruszkowski said. “Those need to be utilized and why they are not being utilized escapes me. It used to be that way it used to be when people would step up and step in.”

34 people have been killed in shootings in St. Joseph County this year. 120 shootings have taken place this year alone, and South Bend PD said of those shootings 68 of the victims have been 25 or younger.

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Charles U Farley November 18, 2020 at 8:23 am

Want to stop the violence? Stop the coddling in schools, stop the quota driven disciplinary “equity”, stop giving slap on the wrist sentences, stop the welfare state as a career move, and most of all stop making excuses for the individuals who make bad choices.

You’ve raised entire generations of people who think they cannot improve their lot in life because they are “victims”, and for whom education and hard work are things to be scoffed at. The city has been run by Democrats since 1972, and you are seeing the inevitable results of their policies.

Max Allen November 18, 2020 at 1:51 pm



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