In city’s deadliest year, police chief pleads ‘help us’

Fort Wayne set an all-time record with 46 homicides in 2016

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) There have been more homicides in Allen County in 2016 than any other year on record. As of Wednesday, 46 people have been killed.

“During this holiest of seasons,” Rev. Bill McGill of Imani Baptist Temple said, “there’s neither peace on earth nor much goodwill toward men. It’s a very sober time in our nation and especially in our community.”

Police Chief Steve Reed described the senseless killings in one word.

“Unacceptable,” Reed said. “There are too many guns in the hands of the wrong people. We’ve had a fundamental breakdown in society where the culture of violence has been accepted to a degree. We need to change that especially with our young folks.”

When you look at the ages of the victims five people killed this year were 17 or younger, 40 were 18 or older and one victim was an unborn child. September was the deadliest month with 11 killings.

“We all live here,” Reed said. “We want a safe community, so we do take it personally.”

One of the many reason police are working to end the violence. Reed said many of the killings stem from drug and gang violence. That’s why he’s added more detectives to the gang and violent crime unit which has taken 160 guns off the streets this year,  twice as many as in 2015.

“It starts at home and it continues with the community and in the schools. We’ve recently done more ourselves in the schools,” Reed said.

Community leaders agree.

“We’ve got to find a way to marshal the troops, recapturing the minds and the hearts of this generation,” McGill said.

But there is hope. In 2016 several people stood up to violence and lead a march through downtown. McGill said he’s notice more people are willing to work with police to help solve these crimes too.

A LOOK AT THE 2016 HOMICIDES

“There is no question that that is the major difference between now and 2013. There seems to be a better relationship that has grown and developed with law enforcement,” McGill said. “Individuals are at least calling in with information. We’ve been able to make some arrests.”

Reed said that more people have helped, but they need more.

“They understand we need their help, but we need more. We need more people in the community to step forward and help us solve these crimes,” Reed said.

These crimes that everyone hopes will stop happening.

“Light always cancels out darkness,” McGill said. “In this holiest of seasons: if not now, when?”