The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, August 10, 2021 1:00 am

Violent crime in city plunges

Mayor, police chief laud 46% drop from same 2020 period

DEVAN FILCHAK | The Journal Gazette

The Fort Wayne Police Department announced Monday significant reductions in some crimes so far this year.

Compared with the first seven months of 2020, the department has seen a 46% reduction in violent crimes and a 6% reduction in property crimes this year, officials said.

Mayor Tom Henry, Fort Wayne Police Chief Steve Reed and more than a dozen police officers gathered to celebrate the achievement at a time when some larger cities – such as Indianapolis and Louisville – have seen increases in crime.

“We want all of the residents of the city of Fort Wayne and business owners,” Henry said, “to have a comfort level now of knowing that we truly live in a safe city.”

Henry's administration, he added, has mainly focused on open communication, accessibility, community relations and trust “to make the city all it can be.”

Other comparisons to the first part of last year include a 13% reduction in homicides. The department also has seen a clearance rate of almost 70% in homicide cases, which means someone has been charged, the act was considered to be in self-defense or the victim of the homicide was a person of interest in a previous homicide.

“Don't misunderstand me,” Reed said. “One homicide is one homicide too many, but we are not seeing the dramatic rise some other cities have.”

Police also announced a 50% increase in arrests for possession of a handgun without a license and a 22% increase in non-fatal shootings. More than 500 guns have been recovered by the department this year, a news release stated.

Reports of sexual assault have increased by about 58%, but the department believes that is because fewer victims reported sexual assault last year during the coronavirus pandemic.

Capt. Juan Barrientes, the department's training director, said some police departments have had significant numbers of officers leave recently, but he's not surprised that has not been an issue in Fort Wayne.

“Having the support of your bosses is a big deal in overall job satisfaction,” he said.

Fort Wayne Officer Mark Bieker said the reduction in some types of crime in the city reflects the effort officers put in every day.

“It speaks for the fact that we've worked, and the city has worked and the administration has worked on trust within the community,” he said.

“These numbers can't come down unless we have the cooperation of the community as well.”

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