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Shootings increase in Cincinnati

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The year 2017 if off to a bad start in terms of shootings in Cincinnati. The number of people shot in the first two months of this year, January and February, have increased 87.9 percent over 2016. About 65 people were shot in the first eight weeks of 2017, an average of more than one a day. During the same period last year, about 35 people were shot.

Deandre Berry (27) was the first homicide of 2017 by a gunshot wound

The shooting victims from the first two months of January and February from 2015 were 38 while from the first two months of 2014 were 40. As you can see, gun violence has been a lot more of a problem at the start of this year as opposed to within the last three or four years.

The first shooting of the year actually started on the first day of 2017, New Year’s Day. On the night of January 1st, there were actually two Cincinnati shootings within the same hour which in one of them, a man was killed.

With the news of this, city officials met with several units of the Cincinnati Police Department as well as representatives from the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, along with the FBI about shooting violence. City Manager Harry Black and officials decided to allocate 300,000 dollars for police overtime so that they can increase law enforcement presence in certain areas of the city.

With this news, Cincinnati Police Chief Elliot Isaac said that the police are glad to have support from the city administration and are grateful about the additional resources they are getting.

I talked to Police Officer Stephen Hoerst and asked him why have this shooting increase has occurred this year and if he has been on call for one yet.

“I think that increased drug activity among people has of course made more conflict and gun violence go up with the cases I’ve been in. Drugs are becoming more and more popular nowadays. But sometimes it’s just the random nature of things as the reason shootings go up.

“I personally have been involved in shooting cases with fatal and non-fatal injuries. As a sergeant, I respond on all of the critical incidents and take initial control of the scene until the investigative unit comes.”

I also wondered if he was enjoying this overtime allocation, if he is being affected by it at all, and what he thinks of it.

“If I work overtime I will get about two, sometimes three times my salary an hour. This is really nice because our salary lately hasn’t kept up with cost of living or inflation. I really like making more money, obviously, but would like to go home earlier to my wife and kids.”

“Another reason why the overtime allocation is great because it will hopefully put more cops on the street which is sorely needed. We have far fewer cops than we used to and it feels like we are often playing catch up, since we get more calls than we need too now that cell phones are universal.

However, I don’t feel very hopeful going into the rest of the year as March has already brought in its fair share of shootings, the latest being a seventeen month old girl being shot in the chest by one of her older siblings in West Price Hill. Her father, 27-year old Cortez Reed wasn’t charged with the shooting of his daughter, but was charged with child endangerment, tampering with evidence, receiving the gun (which was stolen), and obstructing official business.

The past few years since about 2011, the highest yearly total of shooting victims is four hundred and seventy nine in 2015. Cincinnati looks like it’s on its way for a new high in 2017.

When I discussed this with Elder student Eric Fox, he added that, like me, he is tired of all of the shootings in the city and wants a change in Cincinnati.

I guess we will see if the shootings will decrease this year at all, but I would like to see this end. I for one know that I’m getting sick of turning on the news and seeing all of this happening, whether it be a fatal gun wound or not. My wish is that this horrible trend will stop.

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