CINCINNATI – Europeans often ask why there is so much gun violence in the United States. So a TV crew from the Netherlands came here to find out.
The fact that gun violence is decreasing in Cincinnati is one factor that drew the crew from the documentary program "Trippers" to the Queen City.
The program's host knew about gun violence from what he'd read — now he's seen solutions at work first-hand.
When SWAT teams and police executed a search warrant on Hemlock Street in Walnut Hills Wednesday, a five-member television crew recorded it all.
“It's very interesting coming from a country where it's illegal to possess or carry a weapon without a permit,” said Maurice Lede, host of Trippers.
The crew was advised to bring a first aid kit with them.
“Their perception is that every American has a gun and every time you turn the corner you're potentially a victim,” said Lt. Steve Saunders, CPD public information officer.
The combination of technology and community cooperation led by Chief Eliot Isaac is making a difference in reducing gun violence and changing that perception.
The warrant produced a 9mm handgun and some drugs, but no arrests.
“What I've seen so far I think they're doing a very good job here,” Lede said.
What struck Lede the most was the number of confiscated weapons in the police property room.
“You see lots of guns I've never seen before in my life because you hardly see any guns coming from the Netherlands — and all these guns have a story — like a history of crime,” he said.
“To me that was kind of shocking.”
The TV crew saw recovered guns test-fired and how the National Integrated Ballistic Information Network compares bullets and shells to see if a weapon was used in other crimes.
ShotSpotter was on their agenda as well.
“I can tell you that Chief Isaac has really taken the lead on that with some of these progressive methods,” Saunders said.
“They have a very investing system that has good results and that is something we wanted to pay attention to,” said Lede.
Homicide unit commander Lt. David Johnston told them about the department's witness support program.
“It's been very beneficial to us,” Johnson said. “We've had several cases where we probably wouldn't have had the witnesses follow through and come to court.
The crew has several more days of shooting in Columbus and other Ohio cities before returning home.
“We want to change their perspective for the team that's here, but also their audience and viewers in the Netherlands and in the European Union,” Saunders said.
Lede has a loftier goal.
“I really hope gun violence in the U.S. decreases because it damages so many people,” he said.
The documentary is slated to air on Trippers next April.