South Bend Mayor James Mueller and Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski attended a meeting of the Southeast Organized Area Residents on Tuesday, Sept. 29, to discuss how to prevent community violence.
The meeting came one month after the shooting of 7-year-old Chrisyah Stephens, which happened at a birthday party in the Southeast neighborhood.
Chief Ruszkowski said that in order to prevent similar community violence, neighbors need to communicate with each other and the police.
“This is beyond, you see something, say something. You need to see something and say something so we can all do something about it," Ruszkowski said. "We have got to have community cooperation.”
Group Violence Intervention Director Isaac Hunt, who was also on the panel, stressed the need to provide young people easy alternatives to gang activity. He pointed to simple community solutions, like opening the Riley High School pool in the summer and connecting with the local Boys and Girls Club.
“There’s things that we can do that’s low-hanging fruit," Hunt said, "But we have to do it collectively and we have to do it strategically and we have to have a plan.”
The next SOAR meeting will be on Tuesday, October 13, via Zoom.