FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – After a record breaking homicide year in 2016, the city of Fort Wayne got aggressive. “We had to take a step back and look at what we were doing,” Police Chief Steve Reed said.
A year later, it could be said what they decided to do from there had an impact. The homicide rate is down 28% from last year.
Chief Reed said stepping up community engagement and police enforcement was immediate. “We’ve done more drug raids this year, our adult arrests are up, and our juvenile arrest are down.”
One of the biggest community engagement groups created was Fort Wayne United. Their mission begins with reaching out to the city’s youth. “When I think about so many moms and dads that are losing their sons to homicide I take it personally and it hurts,” Iric Headley said.
Although Fort Wayne United’s programs had a successful start, a community effort is the biggest attribution to the lowering rate. “It comes from partnerships. It comes from so many different organizations that are on the ground doing good work,” Headley said.
Mayor Tom Henry seconds that thought. He sent us this quote:
“Public safety is critical to the current and future success of Fort Wayne. We’re committed to being the best and safest community possible. I appreciate and value the expertise and professionalism our officers demonstrate in serving and protecting all of us. One homicide is one too many. Through collaboration and open communication between the Fort Wayne Police Department, community organizations and neighbors, we’re making positive progress. We strive each day to be a welcoming and safe city for all residents and businesses.”
-Mayor Tom Henry
Chief Reed said moving forward, there’s still more to be done and it goes beyond what they’re already doing. “There’s going to have to be a fundamental change in society. How we talk to our kids, that violence is not accepted, and make sure we reach all of our kids not just a select few.”
Over the summer, an effort in Indianapolis called 10 Point Coalition announced expansion and Fort Wayne was on the agenda. The group combines state efforts like this with local ones. Headley said they have gone to Indy and met with the attorney general and those plans are moving forward in a big way.