South Bend neighborhood leader says violence can be curbed - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

South Bend neighborhood leader says violence can be curbed

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A lot of flashing lights on South Bend's west side lately. Two people were killed and two others injured in less than 24 hours.

Police believe the shootings are gang-related.

Neighborhood leaders say something can be done to turn things around.

Becky Kaiser has lived in the Near Northwest Neighborhood for 50 years.

"I feel very safe in the Near Northwest, we have a very strong Diamond Avenue watch group. We all watch out for eachother. We spend time together as friends," says Kaiser.

But it hasn't always been that way.

Kaiser lives just six blocks from where a series of shootings claimed two lives over the weekend. She says, she's been there.

"We on Diamond Avenue were in that same situation when the "Cash Out Boys" tried to infiltrate our neighborhood. And we as a group of neighbors, mostly women, said 'no'," says Kaiser.

"That's the really troubling part. A complete disregard for anyone's safety in the area," says Captain Phil Trent with the South Bend Police Department.

Trent with South Bend Police says there's extra monitoring and officers working closely with Metro Homicide to curb future violence. But while they're there to serve and protect, Trent says a neighborhood's sense of security is in the people's hands.

"People have to reflect on their own neighborhoods and where they live. People who live in a certain neighborhood or neighborhoods in South Bend anywhere, have a certain sense of their safety," says Trent.

Kaiser says working with police is a big part of building that sense of safety.

"It's important for our police department and our neighbors to feel comfortable with eachother and our neighborhood feels that way with a lot of the officers," says Kaiser.

Kaiser says it's important for people who live in the area where this weekend's shootings to place, to stand up and say "no" to the violence just like she did.

"The neighbors in that neighborhood know. They know who did the shooting. Step up and give names or you're never gonna be safe," says Kaiser.

Kaiser and police say it's also important to remember that you can talk to police completely anonymously, so people needn't be afraid.

FOX28 reached out to Mayor Pete Buttigieg's office about the latest string of violence.

Buttigieg recently formed an Anti-Violence Commission.

His office sent us this statement:

"This kind of unacceptable violence is exactly why I started the Anti-Violence Commission, to apply a highly effective group violence reduction strategy. We're partnering with local, state and federal law enforcement, prosecutors, social services, education, health, and faith leaders to reduce group-related gun violence. Crime is down this year, but even one shooting is one too many. We must do more, and we will"-- Mayor Pete Buttigieg

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