CINCINNATI — On Friday, Mayor John Cranley announced that more people have died from gun violence in the last month in the city of Cincinnati than from COVID-19. He said 30 more people died this April than in the same month in 2019.
Police are now focusing their attention on putting a stop to the recent uptick in violence. Authorities said one of the reasons for the increase is the extra free time on people’s hands – including younger people not in school or adults who are out of work.
“We have continued to see a significant increase in our violent crime,” Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac said.
He said that increase includes homicides and non-fatal shootings.
“It is noticeably a lot more,” said Teairea Powell with the East Westwood Improvement Association. “What’s really concerning, especially the ones I read about in the West Side, is these shootings are happening in the middle of the day, when innocent people are outside.”
Powell said the recent increase in deadly shootings has even shaken neighbors who are fairly used to the violence.
“We have residents that are actually afraid to walk to a store that’s just a few blocks down, or a couple houses down from them, because of the gun violence that has happened,” she said.
Isaac said he’s now dedicated more officers to the gang unit as well as a Gun Violence Task Force.
“There are a number of people who have utilized this unprecedented time in our nation to inflict violence on our communities,” Isaac said.
He’s also assigned more officers to searching for wanted individuals.
Residents like Powell said they want to be more involved as well.
“Sometimes residents feel like they get ignored when they give the police a heads up on the hotspots,” she said. “I know that we have a particular area of concern and the police at our last meeting told us that they’re working on it, and two weeks later a person was killed there.”
Powell said community input is just as important as the additional manpower.
“The communication between the police and the community helps in regard to preventing a lot of these things,” she said.
Isaac said the police department is making more progress with regard to violent crime. He said officers have made arrests on close to 70% of the homicides that have happened so far this year.