GARY, Ind. (AP) — Police in Gary are asking the public for any information that could help them address an increase in homicides and gun violence this year.
There have been a dozen homicides so far this year in the northwestern Indiana city, compared to nine by this time last year, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported. There have been 18 people wounded by gunfire, up from a dozen this time last year.
Among the victims were three members of the same family who were killed in separate attacks within days of each other. Police have yet to say if the deaths of Jimmy Valentine, his wife Tracy Valentine and his brother Wayne Valentine are connected.
Coroners say the cause of their deaths remains under investigation.
Police Chief Richard Allen asked the public to come forward with tips.
"If something happened to you, I know you would want someone with information to contact the police and assist with holding the perpetrator accountable," he said.
The department is increasing efforts to monitor high-crime areas by partnering with other law enforcement groups, including the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area team, the Gang Response Investigative Team and the Lake County Drug Task Force.
The department is addressing drug issues in the city through undercover operations, data analysis and anonymous tips, said Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson. The department is also using an emergency hiring process to increase its workforce, she said.
It's unclear where the department will get the funds for the new hires, as they city is facing a budget crunch. Freeman-Wilson's administration asked the department in December to cut more than $1 million from its budget.
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