Gary leaders make compact against crime

Contributed By:The 411 News

Community advocates, city and faith leaders rally against violence in the city

Gary officials, faith leaders and community leaders collectively announced a continued partnership toward reducing the number of violent crimes and homicides in the city of Gary.

During a press conference Friday morning at Clark Road Baptist Church, city officials and faith leaders outlined a multi-faceted approach to urge concerned citizens to support law enforcement. Speakers included Gary Police Chief Richard Allen; Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez; Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson; Gary Councilman Ron Brewer; Gary pastors Rev. Charles Emery, Rev. Edward Turner and Rev. Eric Boone, Ten Point Coalition; Ola Morris, Urban League NWI-Block Clubs and Penelope Love, Aetna Manor Revitalization.

The collaboration of Gary leaders will work together on solutions to stem violent crime and homicides, said Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson. “We have to look at a multifaceted approach and we have to be consistent about how we deal with violence. We know that this is not a law enforcement solution. Every day we must all have this challenge on our lists.”

At the press conference, Police Chief Allen explained that police patrols are being re-evaluated and that efforts are being taken to handle the increase in violence. He also spoke about collaborations with county, state and federal governments, and the importance of community policing.

Sheriff Martinez spoke about the City of Gary and Lake County partnership and efforts to address drugs in our communities. He reiterated the sheriff department’s continued support of the city and its police department.

Councilman Brewer spoke about the importance of male leadership and mentorship. He talked about the dual role and responsibility of government and the faith community to support law enforcement.

Rev. Emery and Rev. Turner spoke about the Ten Point Coalition, its importance and community support. The coalition is a clergy-led effort to encourage the community to push back against violence. It is a national network of faith leaders that has credibility in the community. The Gary Coalition will begin actively working with Chief Allen to identify areas for their neighborhood peace walks this month.

Rev. Boone shared information about an upcoming concert. Pastor Boone is leading a group in sponsoring the “All Ages Concert,” 6 p.m. Saturday, April 21, 2018 at West Side High School. This event will focus on non-violence, no drugs and anti-bullying. He spoke about the importance of the concert and about who is being targeted.

Ola Morris and Penelope Love are community advocates who care deeply about their neighborhoods. The ladies shared their experiences with block clubs and neighborhood watches. They discussed the importance of the organizations, their involvement and how working together has helped their communities.

As of April 1, 2018, Gary has experienced 15 homicides, up 14% from 2017. Mayor Freeman-Wilson concluded, “With this collaboration of leaders we hope to see more interest from citizens, organizations and businesses wanting to join our efforts. The message is… this is everybody’s job.”

Story Posted:04/14/2018

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