Just hours after Mayor Dan Horrigan and Police Chief Ken Ball addressed citizens of Akron about the increase in deadly gun violence in the city over the course of this year, Akron logged its 34th homicide of 2020.
Police were called to the area of Maryland Avenue and 5th Street Southwest, along the train tracks, about 5 p.m. Tuesday about a woman who was shot. There they found the yet unnamed 22-year-old woman dead from an apparent gunshot wound. Wednesday, the Summit County Medical Examiner confirmed the cause of death was in fact homicide.
It is now mid-August and Akron has already surpassed 2019's total homicide count of 33.
Earlier Tuesday, in a video posted to Facebook, Mayor Horrigan and Chief Ball talked about what efforts the city and the police force are making to curtail the violence. Watch that "community update" here now.
"This cannot continue. We have to reverse this trend and interrupt the cycle of violence," Mayor Horrigan said.
The homicide rate is up by 50 percent with the number of "shots fired" calls to police up by 25 percent, according to Chief Ball. He says that the department is taking a data-driven approach to the violence in the city, and focusing on individuals they know to be associated with recent gun violence and other criminal activity, as opposed to a sweeping approach.
Another disturbing trend, as Chief Ball points out, is the number of young people involved in violent crime, both victims and suspects. "We haven't been able to quantify it yet, because it a statistic that hasn't been traced up to this point, but we are seeing many more 12, 13, and 14-year-olds being arrested with firearms," Chief Ball said.
On the opposite end of that trend, the victims. Now five children have been killed in the city over the course of this year. Most recently, eight-year-old Mikayla Pickett was shot during a party at a home on Roselle Avenue just before midnight Friday, August 14th. At that same party, a 14-year-old girl was shot in the leg. She suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
Akron Police say they have no suspects yet, but are narrowing their search based on interviews with people at the party that was mostly attended by teens.