As police shootings continue to rock Chicago and the nation, Gary remained quiet in 2015, where there were no such cases involving the city’s police department, according to a report Mayor Karen-Freeman Wilson released to the media.
Nearly a thousand times last year, an American police officer has shot and killed a civilian, according to a report last December in The Washington Post.
In a year-long study, The Washington Post found that the incidents sparked protests in many U.S. communities. In Chicago, a study by the Better Government Association shows that police-involved shootings cost the city $106 million in settlements and legal fees in 2014 and 2015.
While the most high profile cases involved unarmed Black men, the Post found that the great majority of people who died at the hands of the police fit at least one of three categories: they were wielding weapons, they were suicidal or mentally troubled, or they ran when officers told them to halt.
In Gary, Freeman-Wilson said, the police department’s end-of-the-year crime statistics show a significant decrease in all categories of reported crime over the past three years. The three-year comparison monitors stats related to Criminal Homicide, Rape, Robbery, Assault, Burglary, Larceny-Theft, Motor Vehicle Theft, and Arson.
Gary, like many U.S. cities last year experienced a spike in violent crime during the summer months resulting in the cities’ violent crime rate to escalate in 2015.
Gary Police have been working diligently to combat violent crimes in the city. Chief Larry McKinley has reiterated numerous times, “We know the identity of the top violent offenders in our community and (referring the city’s Gary for Life initiative) we continue to send the message we will help you if you let us and we will stop you if you make us.” Gary for Life is a partnership with the National Network for Safe Communities. The program works with at-risk individuals and potential offenders to offer an opportunity to change. The program has realized some successes as it relates to a decrease in Gary’s crime statistics.
Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson praised the work of the men and women of the Gary Police Department for their untiring service to the Gary community. Nearly all Police and Fire personnel received pay increases in 2015 and 2016.
Freeman-Wilson continues to serve as Chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors – Mayors and Police Chiefs Committee on Community Policing and Relations and Chair of the National Leagues of Cities Public Safety and Crime Prevention Committee.