A report from the National Network for Safe Communities has found that a significantly small group of violent actors in Columbus, Ohio were behind nearly half the city’s homicides that occurred in a nine-month period in 2020, the city’s deadliest year on record, reports the Columbus Dispatch. Among the report’s most significant findings is that 17 gangs comprised of an estimated 480 total members — roughly .05 percent of the city’s population — were confirmed to be or suspected to be involved in 46 percent of homicides in that period, either as victims, perpetrators or both.
In most cases, the report found that individual gang members did not often kill out of the gang’s best interests but rather had their own criminal motives. Instead of the common catalysts of gang rivalries, feuds or retaliation, it seems that money, drugs or robbery were more often motivating factors. Of the homicides studied, 66 percent of all victims and gang suspects were between the ages of 18 and 29. Of the juveniles involved in the gang-related killings, 70 percent were victims rather than the killers. There have been 163 homicides in 2021 in Columbus, 13 away from surpassing last year’s record 175 killings.