Homicides caused by shootings have increased in Cincinnati by 50 percent from 2019 to 2020. There have already been over 50 shooting deaths this year. Last year, there were 73 homicides.

Law enforcement agencies have been hampered this year by the coronavirus and then the riots that took over the city. Assistant Chief Paul Neudigate explained how COVID-19 impacted policing within the city.

In March and April, the coronavirus pandemic caused police to change how they interact with the community. The police department had to “step back” from their typical efforts to reduce violence in communities. Because they were unable to be proactive, they could only react to crimes as they were committed during the lockdown.

Police officers lost their contacts and avenues to gain information about crimes and criminal activity in the city. As police officers pulled back because of the virus, they did not have the same level of trust with individuals in various communities. They were not receiving the same level of information about locations where people were committing crimes and violent acts.

The fact that the community was in lockdown and people were not reporting information made it more difficult to investigate crimes, including homicides and violent crimes. Just as the police department began to return to standard policing procedures, the riots began.

Again, the police department was back in a responsive mode as it dealt with the protests, demonstrations, and riots throughout the city. The combination of the pandemic and the riots hindered their ability to address gun violence.

A Community Non-Profit Works to Stop Gun Violence In Cincinnati

Cincinnati Works is also taking steps to stop the gun violence in the city. It is a non-profit organization that provides free support services, including lifetime career coaching. The agency sponsored the “Enough is Enough” rally to stop the rise in violence.

As part of the rally, the group put body bags on the ground to represent the lives lost to shootings in Cincinnati. According to Pastor Ennis Trait, the body bags represented families and communities, in addition to the people who were murdered. They represent the impact of violence on the communities.

Pastor Trait said that when people witness violence and shootings in their neighborhoods, the violence can cause repression, trauma, and anger. In other words, “Hurt people hurt people.” He encourages people to say something when they see something.

If you see someone committing a crime or you have information about a crime, the Pastor said you need to be vocal. You need to tell the right people so they can solve the homicides, and the city can heal.

According to Assistant Chief Neudigate, it may take months to figure everything out, but the relationship with the community is the key to success. The relationship is strained right now, so the department continues to work to repair the damage that occurred between law enforcement and the community during the past few months.

Crimes Are Not Limited to Gun Violence

Homicides and gun violence are not the only criminal activities that are reported in the city. Other crimes investigated by law enforcement agencies include:

If you are arrested in Cincinnati, do not panic. Even though the police arrested you for an alleged crime, you are innocent until proven guilty. The prosecution must prove its case beyond a shadow of a doubt to obtain a conviction.

The urge to tell your side of the story or try to “talk your way out” of an arrest can be overwhelming. However, do not talk to the police. Do not agree to make a statement.

Police officers are trained and experienced in obtaining information from suspects. They can also lie to you. A police officer may tell you that he can “help you out” if you just tell your side of what happened.

Police officers cannot make promises.

They have no authority to enter a plea agreement. The police investigate and arrest suspects. The prosecutor’s office handles the matter after the arrest.

Even though a prosecutor can enter a plea deal, it still may not be in your best interest to talk to them without an attorney. Prosecutors are experienced and trained in getting information from suspects that can help with the prosecution. A prosecutor is interested in one thing – obtaining a guilty verdict or a guilty plea.

Instead, exercise your constitutional rights. Remain silent, except for asking for a criminal defense lawyer. Your lawyer will do the talking for you.