Violent Dayton gun crimes prompt police changes

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Gun crime jumps up

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Crime overall is down this year in Dayton, but violent gun crimes have been rising and police are taking steps to counter that trend.

The Dayton Police Department has reorganized to create a Violent Crimes Bureau, which will have a special unit that focuses on “group offenders” who drive gun violence as well as robbery offenses and all other gun offenses, said Chief Richard Biehl.

Violence associated with robberies have increased, which resulted in more killings last year, Biehl said.

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There were 535 firearm-related crimes in Dayton in 2016, an increase of nearly 21 percent, according to police data.

There were 111 gun-crimes that resulted in injuries, which was a small increase from 2015. Violent crimes not involving guns declined 11 percent in 2016.

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Dayton police Chief Richard Biehl discusses crime trends at the police promotion ceremony. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Dayton police Chief Richard Biehl discusses crime trends at the police promotion ceremony. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

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Dayton police Chief Richard Biehl discusses crime trends at the police promotion ceremony. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

“We are a far safer city today than we were several years ago,” Biehl said. “With that said, gun crime in the last two years has gone north.”

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Administrative functions of the police department have been reshuffled to allow the new bureau to focus strictly on violent crime, Biehl said.

This week, the police department promoted two officers during a ceremony at City Hall.

Sgt. Jason Hall was promoted to lieutenant and will be assigned to the administrative services division.

Officer Matthew Locke was promoted to sergeant and will be assigned to the East Patrol Operations Division.

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Hall’s additional command position will allow administrative functions to be handled separately from operations to ensure there is an intense focus on priorities, including reducing gun crime, officials said.

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