Cleveland youths were shot, beaten and stabbed to death – mostly by their peers at an alarming rate in 2005, says the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The city’s murder total was 115, the highest since 1995, when 131 were killed. More than 40 percent of the victims and arrested suspects were under the age of 25.
Last year, half of the men and women killed in the region had drugs or alcohol in their system. And 47 percent of victims and people arrested for killing them had a felony history of robbery, burglary, assault or drug crimes. Cleveland detectives have solved 53 of their homicides from 2005. John Sommer, director of Ohio’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Agency, has seen an upswing in violent crimes related to drugs and gangs. Agencies like the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Agency, which coordinates Ohio’s drug task forces and other narcotics efforts, have to combat organized drug cartels that have their own arsenals and small-time street gangs with trigger-happy drug-runners. The agency had $7 million cut last year from the federal grants that it gets.