FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - Overall crime in Fort Wayne was down five percent in 2017. It's a trend Mayor Tom Henry and local law enforcement stressed Monday as they recapped the year and looked at public safety ideas for 2018.
But not everyone thinks the city is moving forward. In particular, family members of homicide victims whose cases are still open.
David Miller's 20-year-old grandson Spencer Smith was gunned down in August, shot and killed outside of East Central Tower Apartments. "You can't replace that person and what the family goes through is pure hell," he said.
Smith's case is one the 32 still unsolved out of 38 homicides in Fort Wayne, according to Gary Hamilton with FWPD. Because of that, Miller has formed a strong opinion toward the city. "When you don't get justice for something, it just really irritates you. I mean it frustrates you to hell and I don't see any progress being made on any of them."
Monday Mayor Tom Henry and local law enforcement looked back at 2017 and cited improvements, saying overall crime is down five percent. Still, Henry said the number of unsolved cases won't go down until people speak up. "We need to have the public step forward. Somebody knows something."
Miller said he too knows people have to talk but that it's even more than that, frankly saying it goes back to the prosecutor, Karen Richards. "We're giving people a green light to go and kill somebody because we aren't prosecuting."
Richard's response to that was also that people have to talk. "I don't think were giving the community the green light. There was a homicide this weekend and there's already been an arrest made in that case. Again, because people who had information came forward and told police," she said.
Miller encouraged people to speak up and possibly help another case, his grandson's, or yourself. "Don't think of it as snitching. You're giving a tip to somebody that's going to get somebody off the street that don't care nothing about you or your family."
Henry said there will be a lot of time in 2018 spent in public relations, more outreach programs to strengthen relationship with police especially among the youth.