As homicide and aggravated-assault numbers rise in Columbus, one local television station branded it the “summer of violence.” Police officials and criminology experts warn against reading too much into a single summer, reports the Columbus Dispatch. While the city’s 71 homicides are a marked increase over the same time last year, when 53 occurred, last year’s total of 83 killings was below the city’s 10-year average of 90. Although there were 748 aggravated-assault reports through Aug. 10, versus 637 over the same time period last year, they have been falling in the city for years. There were 1,297 aggravated assaults in 2009, compared with 2,255 in 2000.
“The news media and public focus on homicides, and whether they’re up or down, they want to know a reason why,” said Sgt. Rich Weiner. “We don’t want to downplay the crime that is occurring (but) that doesn’t mean the entire city of Columbus is plagued by violence. That is not true.” Deanna Wilkinson of Ohio State Uniersity, who studies violent crime, says, “I think we make way too much out of the crime data and patterns. If the number reaches some point, what does that mean, that then we’re going to pay attention to the problem?”