South Bend council asking administration for anti-violence update

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- With every life lost to violence in South Bend, people continue to ask the same question: what's the city doing to address the problem?

After hearing concerns from many in the community, the common council's health and public safety committee is taking the issue up. They're asking the mayor's office for answers, specifically about whether the Anti-violence committee has a plan to implement.

"After a year, where are you at?" said Councilman Derek Dieter. "The community needs something. You're the ones that came to the forefront and said we have this anti-violence commission. And, violence has skyrocketed."

Police Chief Ron Teachman says his department is doing everything it can to combat the rash in violence.

Data from recent homicide cases is helping police determine where to place officers on overtime patrols.

"You might call them hot spot areas, where we've seen an uptick in violence or certain types of crimes," Teachman said. "We're putting directed patrols in those neighborhoods."

But, Teachman has continually said violence can't be reduced without help from the community.

Some have stepped up, offering to provide private funding for additional ShotSpotter technology, which immediately alerts police when shots are fired. South Bend has the special sensors placed in a roughly 3-square mile area of the city. Teachman says some businesses and institutions would like to see them added to certain neighborhoods, and are willing to foot the bill.

But, he says making a difference doesn't require money. He encourages those in the community to get involved with youth mentoring programs.

"We need more people to help us raise our children together," Teachman said.

The council says it's willing to help the police department tackle the violence problem in any way it can, even if it means additional funding.

They've also expressed a commitment to helping the department attract new recruits. Teachman says they're currently down 14 officers.

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