By David Denson, Gary Crusader
Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson was joined by community leaders at a press conference on Friday, April 13 at Clark Road M.B. Church to address the recent spike in homicides in the city.
The focus was not to bring attention to the city’s problems, but to seek a solution to problems.
Freeman-Wilson said the city would be redoubling it efforts in this area. “The message here is that this is everybody’s job, and the community has a role to play. We know that this is an intractable problem. And we know that we must be vigilant in coming up with solutions,” said Freeman-Wilson.
The city’s homicide rate is up by 15 percent compared to last year.
The Gary Police Department has increased patrols and is partnering with local and federal agencies to combat crime. Based on data collected by the Gary Police Department, a quick response unit is ready to move into neighborhoods in the wake of violent crimes. “We need to help each other so we can reduce the amount of violence that’s occurring in our community,” said Gary Police Chief Richard Allen.
Gary has relied on assistance from the Lake County Police Department in patrolling several troubled spots in the city. Sherriff Oscar Martinez said the department will continue to provide support in the Glen Park section of the city.
Freeman-Wilson called on citizens to get involved by becoming a mentor, organizing block watch groups or joining the Ten Point Coalition.
Part of the anti-crime initiative involves community participation. Several members of the local Ten-Point Coalition attended the press conference and pledged to support efforts to combat violent crime in the city.
The Ten-Point Coalition will join with the Gary For Life initiative started by Freeman-Wilson several years ago. The initiative is an anti-crime restoration program that recognizes violence as a public community health issue. It is geared toward utilizing a holistic approach to reducing violent crime.
The Ten Point Coalition, a faith based anti-crime program began in Boston and is replicated nationwide. In Gary the program is headed by Reverend Charles Emery, and is a collective of clergy working together to address the violence gripping the community. The coalition will work with police to respond to high-crime areas. They will focus on intervention, crime prevention, educational opportunities, awareness, job training and placement, and more.
The Coalition plans to partner with different agencies and businesses, conduct peace marches and build a relationship of trust with community youth.
A concert is scheduled for April 21 at the West Side Leadership Academy that will focus on violence, drugs and bullying. For more information on the concert call 219-201-3284.