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In-Depth: Cleveland gun arrests, confiscations up so far in 2021

In-Depth: CLE gun arrests, confiscations up so far in 2021
Posted at 10:35 PM, May 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-05 23:18:40-04

CLEVELAND — The latest crime statistics from the Cleveland Police Department indicate weapons arrests are up 120% citywide and guns confiscated are up 89% so far in 2021 compared to the same time last year.

The increase in police enforcement actions comes at a time when homicides are up by some 38% through May 1, compared to May 1, 2020.

Cleveland Safety Committee Chairman Blaine Griffin praised Cleveland police for its effort in getting more weapons off of the streets and said the testing of the ShotSpotter system in a three-square-mile area of Cleveland's fourth police district is playing a role in helping to address gun violence.

“The proliferation of guns in this community is a problem," Griffin said. “The ShotSpotter system helped to deploy officers and they were able to confiscate several weapons that way.”

“Gun violence is just creating havoc and every day I’m getting calls about people having guns shots through their houses.”

“Just yesterday alone, I had several people call me to say it’s almost like they’re playing Grand Theft Auto in the middle of the neighborhood.”

Griffin said the ShotSpotter system employs sound sensors to help law enforcement track and locate where shots are being fired, and get police to the scene more quickly.

Rob Render, President of the East 128 Street Block Club, told News 5 the system is another way to report gunfire and improve police response.

"So if you can nail it down to a couple blocks or several hundred feet, that's going to be way better than me guessing where the shots came from," Render said.

"Shots being fired at night, I hear them all the time, you're scared to death. People that normally wouldn't be afraid at all, are now terrified that they're going to get caught in a crossfire."

Cleveland Safety Committee member Michael Polnesek agreed the ShotSpotter System is promising but hopes some private dollars can be found to help offset the cost for the program.

Polensek said system results were evaluated last week and said a final assessment on whether the program will be expanded to other neighborhoods will take place in early 2022.

"The commander there believes it’s working, those officers in the fourth district believe it’s working," Polensek said

“The sheer number of calls that are coming in for shots fired, I mean you would swear you were in a war zone when you look at those numbers.”

“We’re being charged right now $65,000 per square mile, that’s what it costs us annually, then we have to pay a $10,000 set-up fee.”

“Chicago has 117 square miles, New York has 90-square miles set-up. We'll have to see if we should expand next year."

To read the stats, click here.