COLUMBUS (WCMH) – With Columbus on track to have its deadliest year ever, the city is looking into what’s causing the rise in crime.
Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther and Division of Police leaders shared initial findings of a new report looking into crime in Columbus.
For months now, police have said a small number of groups are committing most of the crimes in the city, and the independent report released Tuesday backed up that finding, going so far as to call the groups “gangs,” a word not used often in relation to crime in Columbus.
“The violence we’re seeing today is different and so we need a new plan,” Ginther said.
That’s what city leaders have spent months working on. That plan, while not ready to be released, uses a technique called Group Violence Intervention, of GVI.
“We’re working to identify individuals or groups, trends, and geographic boundaries, to focus our resources where they can do the most good for the most people,” the mayor said.
Earlier this year, city council approved a study of crime in Columbus by GVI expert David Kennedy.
Some of the study’s initial findings, shared for the first time Tuesday, found between one-third and one-half of Columbus homicides are being committed by a fraction of the population.
“Columbus police have identified 17 active street gangs and groups, apprised of approximately 480 members,” said Lashawna Potts, Columbus Division of Police’s assistant chief. “This represents .05 percent of the Columbus population, but we know at least 36 percent of the homicides involve these group members as either perpetrators, victims, or both. Another 10 percent of homicides were suspected in involving these group members.”
“One gang is too many and we’re going to do everything in our power to offer folks a different way forward, a different path, and if they choose not to accept that path, hold them accountable,” Ginther said.
The chief of police and director of public safety are working on an updated neighbor safety plan to be released later this month.
Ginther said the recommendations in the plan will be reflected in his budget proposal to city council, which the mayor will send to council in November.
More details about the results of the GVI study will be released in the coming weeks.