Council goes door-to-door in neighborhood where 2-year-old was killed

SOUTH BEND, Ind. Members of the South Bend Common Council's Health and Public Safety committee took to the streets Tuesday to talk to residents about their concerns.

Members went door-to-door in the Coquillard Park neighborhood, asking people living there what they want to see change.

Most people say their biggest concern is safety, especially after 2-year-old John Swoveland Jr. was shot and killed in April.

The boy was playing outside with his older sister when police say he was struck by a stray bullet from a gang fight.

Now, neighbors say they want to see more patrols in the area.

"I know some of my neighbors don't feel safe," said Tom Whipkey, who lives in the area. "I'm just the sort of person who, this is my neighborhood. I'm not going to let people scare me and chase me out. If I do, the bad guys win."

Council members agree there need to be more proactive patrols in the area, given the increase in violent crimes.

"In this area itself, we've had five young people held up with guns to their heads in the last five weeks within one block of Notre Dame," said Councilman Fred Ferlic. "We've had a shooting and death of a 2-year-old child a half a block away from here. Just north of Jefferson, they've had 20 to 30 burglaries in the past year."

The committee is trying to walk a different neighborhood every week. They'll take all of the feedback they get and use it as they enter budget season.

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