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EPD partnering with national organization to combat violent crime

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 6:48 PM CST
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The National Network for Safe Communities is working together with the Evansville Police Department to combat crimes people commit as part of a group.

Police say they are seeing a trend in violent crimes.

“The group violence is what’s overtaking not just Evansville, Indiana, but pretty much urban cities all over our country,” Evansville Police Chief Billy Bolin said.

Authorities use the term “group” because not all the groups they are looking at fit the description of a gang. Police consider groups of at least two people who commit crimes.

To fight “group violence” in the community, EPD officials are partnering with the National Network for Safe Communities, which has helped them implement a semi-weekly review meeting where several law enforcement departments share information on recent violent crimes. Authorities have also created a committee with community leaders to offer job opportunities, counseling and more to the victims, as well as the suspects of violent crime, to try and guide them to a better path.

“We want to do everything we can to help these other people help you,” Bolin said. “If you’re not willing to take the help, you’re going to become our number one focus and we’re going to do everything we can within the law to make sure you’re not doing it.”

According to a report from EPD, people involved with these groups make up 0.09% of the Evansville population, but 44% of murders and 32% of non-fatal shootings are confirmed to have ties to these groups. When including cases that police say are likely related to groups, the numbers jump to 56% of murders and 60% of non-fatal shootings.

Chief Bolin says he hopes their work can not only cut down on violent crime, but also make them more approachable.

“A lot of it’s just an education piece to the community of they think we’re that strong arm or that hammer, and they don’t realize that we have hearts and that we live in this community and our kids go to the same schools,” Bolin said. “We don’t want this any more than anybody else does.”

He says this approach has worked in other cities across the country, and he’s eager to see the effect it can have on Evansville.

Chief Bolin says the committee of community leaders includes people who have been critical of police, but they are all working together to better the city.

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