CLEVELAND — Families who lost loved ones to Cleveland gun violence in 2020 are demanding change from city leaders in 2021.
Cleveland police headquarters released week 52 crime statistics for 2020, which showed a 49.53% in homicides with a firearm, compared to 2019, and a 57.27% increase in felonious assaults with a firearm compared to last year.
Adora and Arisia Riggins, who lost their brother to gun violence on July 25 of this year, told News 5 more must be done to increase the penalties for those who commit gun violence in 2021. The family has started a petition drive demanding increased sentencing.
Their brother, 27-year-old Allante Riggins, father of a 4 and 8-year-old, was shot and killed at an East 75 Street and Kinsman Avenue shopping plaza. His killer has still not been captured by police.
“It makes no sense to me that nothing has happened, there were several witnesses," said Arisia Riggins.
“Our family is very frustrated, we’re trying to figure out what do we have to do, do we have to handcuff them and bring them in ourselves.”
“Penalties have to be increased because if they have nothing to fear and no punishment in a court for their actions, they’ll continue to do it.”
“It’s senseless, they’re out here playing God, it’s not up to regular people on who lives or dies," Adora Riggins said.
“Every day I wake up I see that another life has been taken, and it’s all due to gun violence.”
Cleveland Councilman Michael Polensek told News 5 addressing the need for more Cleveland police officers must be a top priority in the upcoming 2021 city budget.
“The council has got to get real, we need to put on at least 175 police officers next year, we’re not even keeping up with attrition," Polensek said.
“We must stop this obscene violence and mayhem, and these characters who have no respect for anybody.”
Cleveland Councilman Blaine Griffin, who is also the Cleveland Safety Committee Chairman, told News 5 more state and federal funding is also needed to address city poverty, affordable housing, inner-city health disparities, and community outreach to troubled teens as a more systemic approach toward reducing gun violence in 2021.
“We're going to continue to have these problems, we're dealing with a cultural issue, not a police issue," Griffin said.
“It doesn’t help us that we're one of the most impoverished cities in America right now, we have to do something about that, we have to do something about health disparities.”
“We put about 1.6 million in trauma services into our recreation centers last year, we need to see if they can be more mobile.”
“These are things that are a bigger issue in society that are not just going to take a gun, a badge, and handcuffs to deal with.”
News 5 reached out to the Cleveland Mayor's office and Cleveland police headquarters for this story, we're still waiting for statements.
Meanwhile, the Riggins family is hoping the city will take greater steps to curb gun violence in the coming year and find the people responsible for claiming the life of their brother.
“Christmas he was gone five months, first Christmas without him, so it’s been rough for all of us," Adora Riggins said.
"And yes, as his siblings, we’re going to keep fighting for him and do whatever we must."
If you have any information concerning the shooting death of Allante Riggins you're being asked to contact Cleveland homicide detectives at 216-623-5464.
Crimestoppers is offering a $2,500 reward for information that leads to an arrest.