EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - 2020 was a year riddled with gun violence in Evansville. EPD officers responded to 832 incidents of shots fired an average of more than two every day.
In 2019, there were only 686 shots fired incidents.
“I wouldn’t say it’s shocking, but, I don’t like them. It’s way too much. I would love to see us get these numbers down,” said Evansville Chief of Police Billy Bolin.
EPD’s crime stats show that 69 people were gunshot victims last year, and 14 of those victims died.
“We play a role in it but it’s a societal problem, and I think until society wakes up and says ‘we are not going to allow this to happen with our youth, and we’re going to have to do something,’ I think we are kind of in the cleanup role,” explained Chief Bolin.
Chief Bolin says gun violence is something that EPD tries to prevent. However, in 2020, many of those proactive measures were dialed back for COVID-19 safety reasons.
That meant fewer traffic stops and less human interaction.
“I think we can absolutely drive it down. I think you will see the numbers go lower when we get back to doing what we want to do, and it’s just more directed patrol,” said Chief Bolin. “Knowing who our players are, knowing the people that are involved in the shootings, the robberies, the drug dealing. Because a lot of that goes hand in hand and then making them our focus.”
Chief Bolin says these aren’t problems that can be solved overnight. It takes diligence and attention to detail from everyone at EPD every single day.
“We’re working. We’re trying. We know that we have a criminal element out there and we are trying to get a grip on it,” shared Chief Bolin.
Evansville Police were able to take 463 guns off the streets in 2020, all of which were being carried illegally.