FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Crime has dropped a considerable amount in the first half of 2014, compared to last year. There have been six homicides in Allen County in 2014, with less than two weeks before the second half of the year begins.
Thursday night, Mayor Tom Henry said there were several reasons for the change and that the city wouldn’t sit back and wait for the trends in area crime to change on their own.
“We’ve made a lot of changes in the city in the last six months,” said Henry, while walking in his first neighborhood walk of the summer.
Henry first pointed to the changes in leadership inside the city’s public safety. In the last six months, Henry has appointed a new police and fire chief and brought back the position of public safety director to head both departments.
“Gary Hamilton, our new Police Chief, has really gone out into the neighborhoods and met with a of the neighborhood associations where we’ve had problems,” Henry told NewsChannel 15. “He’s been meeting and working with them, and I think it’s really made a significant difference.”
Henry also credited the city’s Gang and Violent Crimes Task Force, which was created back in February.
“I think they’ve been extremely effective,” Henry said. “I think that’s proved by the statistics that are coming out. Not only are our homicides down, but a lot of other federally-reported crimes are down, as well.”
Henry and other city leaders began the annual summer neighborhood walk program Thursday night. The first walk of the year was held in the city’s southeast side in Oakland Park.
Over the next several months, Mayor Henry and his staff will conduct several neighborhood and business walks.
“Each district in the city has its own problems,” Henry said. “So it’s important to move ourselves around the city.”
Henry’s staff has said the walks are an example of Henry’s commitment to engagement, innovation, and performance. The Mayor has also sought feedback and suggestions related to city government services in various ways, including the City’s website, Mayor’s Night In events, and social media.