AKRON, Ohio — The Akron Police Department has released new data that shows gun violence in the city for September was down compared to the earlier months of May, June, July and August.
It was during those months that Akron saw a surge of gun violence which resulted in the deaths of two teens and several children.
On June 4, 14-year-old Ty'leia Junius was killed in a triple shooting. Ten days later, Na'kia Crawford, 18, was shot and killed sitting in a car with her grandmother. On Aug. 2, 20-month-old Tyree Halsell was shot in the head. Twelve days later on Aug. 14, 8-year-old Mikayla Picket was at a birthday party when she was shot and killed. Another girl, 6-year-old Mar'Viyah Jones, was shot while sitting in a car near Copley Road and Orlando Avenue on Sept. 10. She died two weeks later.
According to police, the number of firearms-related incidents were down 10% in September compared to those prior months. There was also an 18% uptick in weapons recovered.
Year-to-date numbers show a 40% increase in the number of people arrested on weapon charges and a 51% increase in the number of charges individuals face compared to last year in the same time period, the department said.
A total of 281 people were arrested on weapon charges from May through September of this year, according to police. Also, 107 people were arrested for violent crimes.
According to Gov. Mike DeWine's office, there is legislation pending in the General Assembly that will provide stiffer penalties for felons who are found with a gun.
The governor said from talking to law enforcement that many of the cases were committed with handguns, which if similar to past incidents, are many times stolen, illegally obtained and fired by a person who is not legally allowed to have a gun.
“If we want to reduce gun violence we have to deal with the relatively small number of people in our cities, in our communities, who carry out this violence week after week,” DeWine said. “We could remove them—and if we had removed them, maybe some of these children would be alive today.”
Akron Police Detective David Laughlin says the city remains vigilant and officers will continue to police the streets against gun violence.
“We are pleased that the hard work of the law enforcement officers have led to a reduction in firearms related incidents,” said Akron Police Captain David Laughlin. “However, we remained committed to the Akron community to employ strategies that work to reduce gun violence. Our partnership with the citizens of Akron is an important part of our success.”
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