Police chief credits community drop in homicides

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – So far in 2014, Indianapolis has been making news for an increase in homicides. But it’s the exact opposite story in Allen County.

Allen County saw a record-breaking 45 homicides in 2013.  But so far in 2014 there have been eight homicides, on pace to be a year with the fewest in recent memory.

Indianapolis has been making news lately with violence-related crimes.  By June 6 of 2013, its homicide count had reached 58.  But in 2014, that number has increased to 72, according to the Indianapolis Metro Police Department.

Allen County is seeing the opposite trend.  By July 7 of 2013, there had been 22 homicides.  So far in 2014 there have been eight.

Fort Wayne Police Chief Garry Hamilton credits good work by a new Gang and Violent Crimes unit for the reduced number of homicides.  He said the community has played a big part as well, by speaking out with more tips on violent crimes.

“I think our community involvement with people in the community has helped quite a bit.  I have to give credit to the NAACP and the Urban League, who’s reaching out to stop the violence,” Hamilton said.  “That’s a big part of it — reaching out to the community.”

While the homicide numbers are down, Hamilton pointed to the lives lost.  He said one homicide is too many, which is why his department isn’t about to let its guard down.

“We have to continue to reach out with those organizations to be there for them to support them because they support the Fort Wayne Police Department,” Hamilton said.

The Allen County Coroner’s Office says 19 homicides in one year is the lowest number it has seen in decades.  Currently, the county is on pace to have even fewer in 2014.

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