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Summit County leaders confronting rising gun crimes and the spike in youth committing them

Hosting 'Juveniles in the Justice System' forum
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Posted at 7:12 AM, Mar 22, 2022

AKRON, Ohio — A record number of juveniles are going through the Summit County court system.

“We're seeing an increase in severe crimes and we're talking gun violence most specifically,” said Tania Nemer, Summit County community outreach prosecutor. “We don't know if we're hitting a time where it's just there's an increase right now or if the pandemic plays a huge role on it, I'm sure it has a hand in it.”

Back in January, News 5 reported 2020 was a record high year for violent crime in Akron. Though the city saw a major drop towards the end of 2021.

At that time, Akron Deputy Chief Jesse Leeser told News 5 the decrease was attributed to a record number of gun seizures by Akron police, which consisted of 1,282 guns. The total was up 36% from last year. Police also say money allocated by Akron City Council, along with a $55,000 grant from the U.S. Attorney General’s office put extra patrols in neighborhoods where gunfire has been a problem.

Nemer believes talking about these issues, specifically concerns surrounding the revolving door within the juvenile system can help. It’s why she organized an online community discussion about saving the county's youth.

“This is going to be a really raw conversation,” she explained. “We’re going to have, you know, the defense, the victim, the defendant, the prosecutor, the judge, all perspectives on to the table to say, OK, here's how we see things.”

We’re told the virtual meeting is a first, but it won't be the last.

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“We hope that what this will do was really spark conversation with our community and among each other to spark action that needs to be done,” said Nemer.

The free Zoom meeting will run from 6 p.m. until 7:30 p.m.

To join, click here.