Violent crime has spiked all over the nation. 2020 sucked in a lot of ways, between the pandemic and a skyrocketing murder rate, and 2021 hasn’t shaped up to be much better on either of those scores.
Yet as that same violence plagues so many of our streets and politicians claim there’s little they can do about it–at least, not without passing massive amounts of gun control–we do see glimpses of other ways to address the problem.
In Akron, Ohio, they took a novel approach to the issue. They focused on bad people who had guns illegally.
In 2020, Akron police saw a huge surge in murders, a nearly 45% increase from 2019. That’s when Akron Police Deputy Chief Jesse Leeser realized they had to do something different.
“Like most police departments, we have limited resources,” explained Leeser. “But the calls for service or shots fired, gun-related, weapon-related incidents were increasing a lot. So, we took a step back, saw what we, you know, analyze what we did, and where can we improve what we were missing out on.”
In the past seven months, the Akron Police Department has been laser-focused on getting guns out of the hands of criminals.
“It’s such a national problem,” said Leeser. “We’re in the eye of the storm and so we can’t tell until maybe we get out of this, we pass it through, we can look back and say, ‘OK, this is where those weapons were coming from.’”
So far in 2021, police have seized 1,205 guns. At this time last year, they had taken 941 illegal weapons off the streets. In 2019 police seized just 752 guns.
“Those are 1,200 guns that would have been used or could likely have been used in another crime,” explained Leeser. “It’s not that we want one big bust and then we take a step back. It’s that every single day, those the officers are putting themselves in jeopardy going out there making the arrest.”
According to the data, what they’re doing is working.
Murders and shootings have gone down in Akron for the past seven months in a row. Last year, Akron had 843 total shootings and murders. This year, that number is down to 665, but in 2019 they only had 473 total incidents, so they still have a way to go.
Honestly, this is something so ridiculously simple.
Whether or not the laws on the books are just or even really constitutional is an argument for another time. What most agree with is that convicted felons, particularly violent ones, don’t have their constitutionally-protected rights. They can’t vote and they can’t own guns.
And yet, many of them end up with firearms anyway. That just enables them to commit additional violent crimes, offenses that then get laid at the feet of ordinary, law-abiding gun owners.
Akron is seeing results doing something that is so freaking simple it should be obvious.
Let’s also remember that Ohio hasn’t passed any new gun control measures, yet they’re seeing significant results without them. Funny how going after criminals can yield results, isn’t it?
So far, a lot of places are seeing violent crime drop. It seems that none of them have new gun control laws. That’s probably because without those laws, authorities are having to look for something else, and they’re finding it. They’re focusing on criminals who have guns, like in Ohio, because criminals are the problem, not the guns.
The truth of the matter is that criminals have always been the problem and will always be the problem. Focus on them and you’ll see results.
Meanwhile, the good people of Akron are free to enjoy their gun rights as they see fit without the government blaming them for stuff they aren’t responsible for.