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Gun Violence on the Rise in Akron

gun and bullets
KIATTIPONG
/
SHUTTERSTOCK
Officials in Akron are concerned about the increase in gun violence in the city.

Gun violence is on the rise in Akron, a trend being charted across the United States. In June alone, Akron police confiscated 109 illegal firearms. And the city’s homicide rate is outpacing last year’s.

By the end of July, there had been 34 homicides in Akron this year, compared to 26 at the same time in 2020. Lieutenant Michael Miller with the Akron Police Department is worried about passing the 50 homicides recorded last year.

“We appear to be on pace to eclipse that number from last year which is troubling, and it’s a troubling sign across the country frankly with respect to gun violence.”

Miller thinks this increase is due to various socioeconomic factors coming to a boiling point.

“Young people in particular not having the coping skills and the de-escalation skills to solve conflicts in a more productive way, and they’re turning to firearms to do that.”

Akron Police have confiscated 604 illegal firearms this year, almost double the figure at this point in 2020.

Miller says as pandemic restrictions have lifted; violence has increased but that’s not the only reason.

Miller on reasons for gun violence

“I think it’s best pointed to more of a socioeconomic/young folks in particular making poor decisions, poor decisions every day that manifest into some of these tragic losses.”

The most recent victim was 18-year old Kyree Young, who was killed on Brittain Road over an alleged robbery. A suspect has been arrested. Like Young, most victims of gun violence in 2020 and 2021 were young Black men. Miller says Akron police are working to curb this violence, as is city council, which will meet in September to review almost 20 ideas to decrease these deaths.

Akron's new police chief has his work cut out for him. Steve Mylett comes to Akron from Bellevue, Washington near Seattle where he’d been chief since 2015. His first day in Akron is today.