In recent weeks, there have been several stories of violent crime, many acts committed against children. Several of those incidents have come out of Elkhart county. But can this be called a spike in crime?
The Elkhart County Prosecutor's Office believes these cases have gotten more attention because they are crimes involving children. But, as we discovered, the Prosecutor doesn't believe recent events can be classified as a spike in crime.
Outrage is felt when someone is a victim of a crime, but when a crime is committed against an innocent child, outrage might be an understatement.
Just this past weekend, 11-year-old Aaliyah Joiner of Elkhart was buried, after police say she was shot in the head by her cousin.
A few weeks before, an Elkhart mother was accused of taking the life of four of her own children.
Meantime, last month a Goshen teacher was fired, after being accused of having sex with two teens. And just this week, an Elkhart father was charged with neglecting his six-week-old baby, who later died.
“Certainly, when you have victimization of children, that has a tendency to be of public interest, of greater public interest and therefore, it's a concern: is this normal, is this usual?” says Elkhart Prosecutor Curtis Hill. Hill says his office is not necessarily busier than usual. He says these types of violent episodes occur on a regular basis for law enforcement, but not all have hit the airwaves like the recent incidents.
Cyneatha Millsaps is with Family Services in Elkhart County. The agency assists with counseling and helping youth in the community. Millsaps believes something has to give, before anything changes. “The reality is we need to adapt a culture of peace as a society; until then, violence will continue to run rampant in our community,” says Millsaps. “Every case is an individual case, you have to look at it individually,” she adds.
Off-camera we talked to some people who have their own opinions as to whose to blame for recent violence. Some point to bad parenting, others say it's society as a whole, while some blame violence on TV or films.
Meantime, Curtis Hill at the Prosecutors office says it's now their job to prosecute the people that are responsible for these crimes.