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Cincinnati Officials Announce Plan to Tackle Expected Surge in Gun Violence This Summer | Cincinnati News | Cincinnati

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Cincinnati city officials and the Cincinnati Police Department are preparing for a violent summer. 

In a press conference on April 5, Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval, Interim City Manager John P. Curp, Interim Police Chief Teresa A. Theetge and City Council Member Scotty Johnson revealed that the city will be providing an additional $250,000 in funding in order to address the expected spike in gun violence. According to the city officials, this additional funding will be used for police officer overtime pay.  

Alongside the funding increase, the CPD will also announced that the city will be combatting the expected summertime spike in crime by enforcing the new Summer Public Safety Plan. Theetge noted in the press conference that the plan will be focused on three major components they believe will address the expected surge in violent crime: data analysis, community engagement and youth engagement. 

In the data analysis portion of the plan, CPD will utilize data to determine which neighborhoods need additional officers — and when — throughout the summer months. This data-driven police presence will result in an increase in non-uniformed officers, uniformed officers and patrol cars in high-risk neighborhoods throughout Cincinnati. 

Theetge also revealed that CPD will be filling a new role — the crime gun intelligence center community coordinator — to better inform the public of how the CPD’s Crime Gun Intelligence Center works to track, investigate, prosecute and prevent gun crime in the area. 

The community engagement aspect of the Summer Public Safety Plan will revolve around the CPD’s community collaborations with groups like the God Squad, Theetge said. The faith-based CPD initiative, first launched in 2014, contains members of clergy who partner with CPD officers to de-escalate situations without the use of weapons or force. 

Youth programs, like the CPD’s Summer Cadet Program, which allows teenagers between 16-19 years old the chance to work part-time for the CPD and learn the ropes of police work, and the Children in Trauma Intervention (C.I.T.I.) Camp, a summer program by the CPD “designed to encourage, inspire, motivate and challenge youth,” will also play a major part in youth engagement throughout the summer, according to Theetge.

 CPD-led community engagement initiatives aside, Johnson noted in the April 5 press conference that average Cincinnatians should also be doing their parts to prevent a spike in crime during the summer months. 

“The citizens have to be part of the solution,” Johnson said. “I know how well it works when all entities are gathered and working together. So this afternoon I’m asking the citizens to be just as involved as the police are. The city belongs to you. The city is going to be what the citizens make it. So we’re asking for your cooperation here this afternoon to make sure this summer doesn’t end in the way our unfortunate spring has begun.”

Johnson is referencing the fact that 2022 statistics show that Cincinnati is well on its way to experiencing its highest rate of gun violence in the past five years. CPD reports that 78 shootings took place in the first three months of 2022 alone. 

The state as a whole has also been dealing with skyrocketing gun violence rates. In 2021, Ohio almost hit its all-time record for gun deaths, with at least 1,762 Ohioans dying from firearms last year — just two shy of the record-setting year of 2020, according to preliminary data from the Ohio Department of Health. This points to a 62% increase from In 2007, when the earliest data was available, 1,085 Ohioans died at the barrel of a gun. Since that year, gun violence deaths have increased by 62%. Nationally, gun violence deaths only rose by 27% during that same time period. 

Gun violence (and violence of any kind) is much more prevalent in large cities across the United States during the summer months (between approximately June and August) when people are more likely to be outside and socializing with others. A 2018 report by the New York Times found that people in Chicago were twice as likely to get shot in warmer weather than in colder weather.

Last summer, Cincinnatians closely followed the ongoing gun violence and subsequent police response, particularly after the Smale Park Shooting involving two young men. Two people died and several were injured in that incident. CPD later added extra bike and patrol officers to city streets for the summer.

More details regarding the Summer Public Safety Plan will be revealed at some point in the coming weeks. The city and CPD plan on announcing other community initiatives tied to the Summer Public Safety Plan at that time.

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