CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac announced a new task force Friday aimed at curbing the rise in gun violence during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There are a number of individuals who have utilized this unprecedented time in our nation to inflict violence on our communities,” Isaac said, citing a “significant increase" in violent crime, nonfatal shootings and homicides over the foregoing weeks.
The Gun Violence Task Force is one of several steps CPD is taking. Others include shifting personnel to supplement its Gang Unit and working to expand Shot Spotter technology to Over-the-Rhine, Pendleton and the West End.
“This will give us some vital intelligence as to where the shootings are occurring,” Isaac said.
Members of the department’s Fugitive Apprehension Unit and ATF Task Force will also be reassigned to focus on wanted individuals in hot spot areas, according to Isaac.
Isaac announced the new measures in the city’s Friday press briefing, where he also highlighted some “tremendous” work done by CPD in the month of April.
According to Isaac, CPD has made arrests on 70 percent of homicides in 2020.
Meanwhile, in just the last two weeks, CPD’s Vice and Narcotics Unit has seized:
- 60 lbs. of a meth-fentanyl-cocain mix (a record-breaking number in the city);
- over three lbs. of meth;
- three lbs. of marijuana;
- three-fourths of a lb. of fentanyl;
- 117 grams of heroin.
The Gang Unit has also seized 31 guns in the last four weeks.
As he has done previously, Mayor John Cranley drew a direct connection between the rise in violence and the diminished capacity of CPD to engage with citizens and practice community-oriented policing.
Cranley also pointed out the city saw 30 more shooting deaths among those aged 15-30 years old in April 2020 as compared to April 2019.
That increase is greater than the number of deaths in the city from COVID-19 in that month, Cranley said.