Columbus, Ohio, has seen a 33 percent increase in homicides this year; there were 46 at this point in 2009, says the Columbus Dispatch. There has been a rash of shootings this summer, and violence appears to be on the rise. Mayor Michael Coleman called an emergency meeting with police and other city officials today to discuss what to do about the increase.
In April, city officials announced the Columbus Police Gun Violence Reduction Program. They said then that it was “proactive” and “intelligence-based” and would involve analyzing crime data to anticipate problem areas in Columbus. The number of violent incidents seems to be up, and so does the “viciousness of the violence,” said Dr. John Drstvensek, chief medical officer of Mid-Ohio Emergency Services. “We’re seeing multiple gunshot wounds (to an individual victim), multiple stab wounds,” he said. “In years past, it might just have been one.” There are a number of explanations, including gangs, drugs and the economy, said Gregory Jefferson of Community for New Direction, an urban-outreach organization. Teenagers have grown up seeing violence on television, and some don’t hesitate to be violent themselves, he said.