South Bend Police say it is gang violence. Neighbors say they are tired of it. People who live along Olive Street in South Bend are fed up with the shootings and drug crimes. Tonight, they'll gather at a community meeting to talk about the issue.
- Meeting: 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 13 at Trinity Episcopal Church, Olive Street at Prast Boulevard. City leaders and mayoral candidates are also invited.
Life in the community ...
Patricia Landine used to love sitting on her porch.
"I would sit out here where it was quiet and cool," says Landine, "but the shootings are a little too close for me to feel safe."
Landine lives on Prast Boulevard, just a few houses down from Olive Street. She believes violence in the area is escalating.
"There was one night where I think what was going on was someone was driving down the street shooting," says Landine.
That is why tonight Landine will be at the neighborhood community meeting at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church.
"I want to know what is being done about it," says Landine.
And so do others who live in the area. Trinity Church member Susan Adamek helped organize the meeting.
"People are concerned about the shootings, drive by shootings," says Adamek, "as you can see there are boarded up houses. We have drug deals in the open."
"We had a wedding here. When the bride was going down the aisle someone across the street was robbed as he got out of his car," says Adamek.
Crime in that area in the last three months, according to WSBT archives:
- Aug. 8: Deadly shooting near the intersection of Fredrickson and Olive streets.
- July 9: Home invasion and beating at a home at Olive Street and Lincolnway.
- June 5. A man took a bullet to the back of the head near Prast Boulevard and Olive Streets He survived.
Police join forces ...
Police say neighbors are right to be concerned, but they have been investigating the problem for months.
"We are certain we are dealing with gang activity," says South Bend Police Capt. Phil Trent.
During investigations, police began finding common threads and names. They increased patrols, investigators began hitting cases hard, they teamed up with the prosecutors office to target individuals and police even got help from the U.S. Marshal's Service.
"This is a work in progress, but we have made numerous arrest already and there are more on the way," says Trent.
Trent says investigators have already made about a dozen arrests and expect to make up to two dozen more. Police will be at the neighborhood meeting tonight to talk with people who live here.