EPD Chief backs Mayor Winnecke’s anti-violence proposal

Evansville City Council passed the proposal Mon.

EPD Chief backs Mayor Winnecke’s anti-violence proposal

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The Evansville City Council passed a proposal presented by Mayor Lloyd Winnecke to help reduce violent crime within Evansville.

The mayor announced a new partnership with the National Network for Safe Communities last week.

The organization is called the National Network for Safe Communities, and works with local leaders to help identify and reduce areas of violent crime within the city.

“It’s not just focused on locking them up, but getting them help,” explained EPD Chief Billy Bolin. “Trying to get them services, trying to get their community to come around and explain that the people doing these crimes are the ones most at risk of being victims of these crimes, too.”

Mayor Winnecke says leaders with the organization evaluates every single neighborhood and makes unique recommendations on how to curb crime at the local level.

“You get faith leaders,” said the mayor. “You get nonprofit leaders. You get neighborhood leaders. The idea is for that collective group to communicate to the smaller group, ‘Hey, we don’t want to tolerate any more violence like this.’”

The proposal was unanimously approved by the council after much discussion.

The city council has allotted $100,000 to get the new partnership rolling that could be revitalizing.

The Mayor began his presentation by citing the increase in violent crime in Evansville as a reason for his proposal, stating over the past five years, Evansville police have responded to nearly 4,000 shots fired calls.

“We don’t want to have more funerals,” shared Chief Bolin. “We don’t want to lead to more chaos and destruction.”

One local woman took to the podium to relay her own children’s struggles in what was once a “safe” neighborhood.

”My daughter, who has my grandsons, has experienced gun violence three times in that neighborhood right by Garvin Park,” stated Pam Decker. “Something has changed in our community and I do believe that our work with the National Network is going to help impact and hopefully bring that thing back around.”

“I’m sorry people have experienced that, I’m sorry we have to make an investment like this to protect our community,” stated Mayor Winnecke. “But we’re blessed that we have the resources to do it, and we’re blessed to have a group of community leaders that recognized it’s time to try something new.”

Mayor Lloyd Winnecke says that once the contract is finalized between the city and the National Network for Safe Communities, one of the first steps is providing crime data from the past three to five years for the organization to analyze.

From there, they will identify the percentage of perpetrators in the city where they can then have those candid conversations to help reduce the amount of violent crime in Evansville.

“One of the things they found from city after city, and I think it’s true here, as well. We have a really small amount of our population, a small group that commits most of the violent crime, and we’re going to focus on those people,” stated Chief Bolin.

The $100,000 will come from Local Option Income Tax and Casino Revenue. Department for Metropolitan Development is expected to add another $50,000.

The total cost is expected to fall between $250,000 to $300,000. 14 News spoke to a council person on the phone Tuesday who says it will be paid over three years.

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