Violent crime declined in Dayton last year, but officials are concerned about a recent surge in homicides at the start of 2022.
There were 30 murders or nonnegligent manslaughters recorded in the city in 2021, a 38% decrease from the previous year, according to Dayton Police statistics. Other violent crimes such as robberies, rapes and aggravated assaults are also down.
“We still have a long way to go but I was pleased to see that reduction in our numbers,” Dayton Police Major Brian Johns said.
Johns said one of the police department’s priorities is to reduce gun crime.
“It is a very safe city, but do we have some issues that we need to address? We definitely do,” Johns said. “I think the gun violence that we see, a lot of times we see people who are involved in an argument and instead of trying to deal with it the correct way, they decide to grab a weapon and shoot people or actually shoot innocent people.”
Lt. Jason Hall said previously that police have worked hard to remove guns from the street and have focused on gun reduction initiatives. More than 1,000 handguns were seized last year by police through their operations, Johns said, and police took away more rifles and shotguns than the previous year.
Also, police have started taking some repeat firearm offenders through the federal court system because penalties can be harsher there compared to state court.
Police statistics show there were 567 aggravated assaults reported in 2021 and 141 aggravated robberies.
Johns said Dayton Police will continue to work to reduce violent crime because one incident is too many. And that’s why police are concerned about the start of the new year as they are already investigating three shooting deaths that took place this month.
On Jan. 2, crews were called to the 4600 block of Sumac Court where they found 43-year-old Johnny A. Fleming Jr. shot to death. And on Jan. 4, police found two men, 62-year-old Darryl Dean and 29-year-old Marty Powers, shot to death at a home in the 600 block of Randolph Street.
A third man remains hospitalized, Johns said. Two men, Darryl Fitzgerald Cleary, 57, and Derek Edwards Shaw, 54, both of Dayton, were charged with murder in Dayton Municipal Court. Authorities said the shooting took place after an argument over money and property.
Johns said it is disappointing to see shootings like the ones on Randolph Street “really happening for the dumbest of reasons,”
“It really doesn’t need to go that way over a dispute that really doesn’t amount to anything,” he said. “Two people lost their lives and a third, if he doesn’t lose his life, his life is dramatically impacted moving forward over something that is very senseless.”
There were two homicides in Dayton in January last year.
Hall also expressed his concern about the uptick over the last couple of weeks.
“We are very early into 2022, three homicides is not something (that’s good), we would strive for zero. Zero would be an absolutely fantastic number for us,” he said.
“I would recommend that during disagreements, take a deep breath and step back away from it,” Hall said. “There is absolutely nothing worse than someone losing their life or having their life forever changed by gun violence.”
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