Op-ed: Cranley, Richardson and Simpson respond to shootings

Cranley: Treat the symptoms, and also the disease

Gun violence is an epidemic in our country. This weekend was a horrific reminder that Cincinnati is not immune to the tragedy that ensues when people resort to gun violence to resolve disputes and innocent people are caught in the crossfire. We must be a city of peace and justice. We should all by outraged by the senseless loss of innocent life.

John Cranley

Our strategy to reduce violence is a blend of smart community oriented policing and developing holistically our City’s children to have greater skills to resolve conflict without resorting to gun violence and greater skills to pursue careers to provide for their families. 

A smart policing strategy builds on the Cincinnati policing embedded in our Collaborative Agreement, which stresses community relationships and a targeted approach to repeat violent offenders. 

Our efforts have included adding more police officers and investing in outreach like our outreach monitors who walk the streets listening to community concerns. We have established an unprecedented collaboration among Hamilton County, ATF, the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and our police to go after repeat violent offenders for gun offenses. Last year, this partnership led to the arrest of 27 violent offenders and resulted in an immediate reduction in shootings. 

Currently, we are working to implement ShotSpotter in hot spot enforcement areas of the City. ShotSpotter helps police immediately locate gunfire and respond to shootings as quickly as possible, giving our cops more tools to reduce gun violence. 

We are also working with Mayors Against Illegal Guns to advocate for common sense gun safety laws. Guns are far too prevalent and available in our neighborhoods.

But a policing strategy alone treats the symptoms -- which must be triaged -- but not the disease. The disease is inequality and unacceptable disparities in health, wealth and education, especially pronounced in our African American and Latino communities.

We must ensure that children have the same educational opportunities regardless of background. We must provide better living-wage jobs for men and women in our community. We must engage the business community to be part of the solution.

And we all must do our part. Talk to your children about responsible conflict resolution. Get involved in your church or mentor a child. It will take all of us to build a city of peace and justice. 

Richardson: Increase funding to CIRV, prevention

In light of this weekend's events, we are reminded of the harsh reality too many in this city face: gun violence is on the rise, and our friends, family and neighbors are losing their lives because of it.

Rob Richardson Jr.

I remember my first thought when news of the Cameo shooting broke: “Is my family alright?” Knowing that I had younger cousins standing in line outside when the shooting occurred. I’m fortunate that they’re unharmed, but there are 17 families like mine who cannot say the same.

The responsibility falls on us as city leaders to respond and find real solutions, not Band-Aids, to this problem.

While easy access to guns escalates across our state, there are a number of steps city leaders can and must take to address gun violence in our streets.

First, we must actively collaborate with regional and community partners already working to tackle this problem. We’ve already seen great results from gun buyback initiatives such as CeaseFire, which has removed over 400 guns from Cincinnati’s streets since 2012.

Additionally, we must increase funding to the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence. Its programs not only provide incentives to past violent offenders to reintegrate into their communities, but they also strengthen collaboration between citizens and law enforcement -- a critical component for a safer Cincinnati.

Finally, we must work to establish preventive education programs in our schools to ensure our kids are exposed to the realities and dangers of gun violence early on so they can make safe and educated decisions about their safety down the road.

This is a problem that affects us all. It’s our job as city leaders to organize the resources we have right here in Cincinnati to find sustainable solutions. With strong leadership, we can do that together.

Simpson: Address the root causes

Violence in our communities is a public health issue, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The strides the Cincinnati Police Department is making in fighting violence in our city neighborhoods are good, and we must also be open to using alternative approaches. Like a disease, violence spreads through communities through close contact with an impacted person.

Yvette Simpson

Cincinnatians -- particularly our young people -- are suffering from PTSD, toxic stress disorders, and other psychological trauma resulting from early and frequent exposure to violence at alarming rates. We can and must address these issues to keep our city safe.

Last year, I co-chaired the Violence Prevention Task Force with Vice Mayor David Mann. We presented recommendations to City Council, including funding violence prevention initiatives in the 2017 budget and appointing  a police representative to the Human Services Advisory Council.

I heavily advocated for City Council to add $250,000 to the budget for violence prevention efforts. Currently, three organizations -- Lower Price Hill Collaborative-Santa Maria, YWCA of Greater Cincinnati's Family Violence Prevention Project and Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio - Community Police Partnering Center are implementing initiatives.  

As mayor, I will continue to prioritize the safety of our communities by expanding violence prevention efforts. We will continue to use our current resources -- an effective, well-staffed police force and the entities that support it -- our health department, social service partners, mental health professionals,  families and community members -- while making sure we are truly practicing community policing.

We must also address the root causes of violence if we want to see sustained decreases in shootings and homicides in our city. That includes treating the trauma that creates violence in people and communities.

If we don't do something different to make sure we're treating what leads to violence, we're never going to see sustained crime reduction over time. We cannot wait. The time is now. 

These columns represent the opinions of the authors. They do not represent WCPO’s opinion. WCPO.com publishes a variety of different opinions. It is part of what makes us different. Our hope is that by publishing different voices from individuals in our community we can be a catalyst for conversation and discussion. For more op-eds, please go to our Community Voices page.

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