Tuesday, June 7, 2022 – Cleveland, OH — Mayor Justin M. Bibb was joined by Chief Public Safety Officer Karrie Howard and Interim Chief of Police Wayne Drummond today for a briefing on recent gun violence and plans for intervention and prevention.
It comes as the Cleveland Division of Police was recently awarded nearly $1.75 million from The Ohio Violent Crime Reduction Grants Program to target gang violence and solve gun crimes.
“Violence and gun crime is on rise and my number one priority is to ensure residents feel safe in their neighborhoods. This funding boost equips the police department with the technology and resources they need to quickly respond and investigate violent crime and helps keep young people on track,” said Mayor Bibb.
The new funding will add five more violence interrupters in each of Cleveland’s police districts to connect youth with opportunities to participate in sports and recreation programs, including midnight basketball or provide referrals to mental health and other wrap-around support services. The violence interrupters program is a national, evidence-based model proven to reduce crime and gang activity and is one part of Mayor Bibb’s youth strategy announced today.
The grant also provides funding to purchase a National Integrated Ballistics Network (NIBIN) machine to analyze bullets and casings and funds expansion of the City’s Violent Crime Reduction Teams first implemented in 2020 to target violence in hotspots.
“While the Cleveland Division of Police is utilizing new technologies to combat violent crime it is imperative we remain focused on fostering relationships between the police and the community with visible patrols in our neighborhoods,” said Interim Chief Drummond.
Rates of violence have increased in the City of Cleveland during the pandemic, recording a 30-year high with 179 homicides in 2020 and a 39% rise compared to pre-pandemic levels with 169 homicides in 2021. The City of Cleveland has recorded 61 homicides this year.
“The Safety Divisions of Police, Fire and Emergency Medical Service are prepared to prevent, intervene and respond to safety incidents this summer but changes to recent gun laws are making their jobs harder. We’re asking residents to take extra care, seek trauma-informed counseling, and be vigilant, especially in the presence of firearms,” said Chief Howard.
Citizens can call the non-emergency line at 216-621-1234, 9-1-1 in emergencies, and report anonymously by contacting Crimestoppers at 216-25-CRIME.