Akron sees surge in homicides, gun violence

Akron police chief: Homicide rate is up 50 percent

AKRON, Ohio (WJW)– The city of Akron is seeing a surge in gun violence and homicides this year. Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan and Police Chief Kenneth Ball released the shocking statistics Tuesday in a virtual town hall meeting.

“Akron now has had as many murders in the first eight months in 2020 as we did for all of 2019,” Horrigan said.

“Our homicide rate is up 50 percent right now. We have calls for shots fired up 25 percent. Discharging firearms, felonious assaults and homicides by weapons are all up 46 percent for us,” Ball said.

Even more concerning is the fact that multiple murder victims are kids.

“There is a disturbing trend, we have not been able to quantify it yet. We’ve seen many more 12, 13-year-olds being arrested with firearms and having other offenses that relate to those crimes of violence,” Ball said.

On Monday night, two men were shot in separate shootings: an 18-year-old and a 37-year-old man. This comes as police still investigate the shooting death of 8-year-old Makayla Pickett Friday night.

Tuesday, residents asked if police are stepping up patrols.

“Yes. We are using information to identify where most of the gun violence is occurring. We are concentrating officers for enforcement in those areas,” Ball said.

The city acknowledged that COVID-19 is a factor for the increased gun violence. Right now, there are population restrictions enacted at the Summit County Jail.

“It has an affect. One of the homicide victims from last night was arrested two weeks ago for carrying a concealed weapon and other warrants. That person should have been in jail,” Ball said.

The mayor said at this point, he is not considering lowering the city’s curfew for those under 18.

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