TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - After a visit Monday from US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Toledo is getting a federal prosecutor to work on reducing violent crime in the city.
Sessions commented on how Toledo, like the rest of the country, saw a big jump in crime in the past two years. He said there were 38 homicide investigations in Toledo, two shy of reaching 40 homicides for the first time since 1994.
"In Toledo, rape is up 36 percent the last two years, assault is up 15 percent, murder is up an astounding 54 percent," Attorney General Sessions said.
Toledo Police Chief George Kral says it is important to understand Sessions was comparing 2015 to 2016.
In 2015, Toledo had 24 homicides compared to 38 the following year. As of now, 2017 has 38 for the year.
Kral said two of those homicides occurred in 2016; however the victim died in 2017 so those two have to be counted in this 2017's amount.
"It was a dramatic jump, I'm not going to shy away from that," Chief Kral said. "I think in 2017, we have started some initiatives that have proven successful and we haven't gone over that number so far anyway."
Chief Kral says one reason he feels the number did not increase this year was because they started a new program: STOP.
In March, Toledo Police got the latest information from shootings in the area. They then put together a program for about two days to a week where they moved into that part of town to stop the violent crime.
He said they flooded the streets, but also wanted to get to know the people in those neighborhoods.
"Increasing our community output with the other citizens, getting them to partner up with the police. We all want the same thing. We don't want to see any homicides let alone 38," Chief Kral said. "We feel if we include the community in the planning process and explain things as we go along they're going to be more willing to reach out and willing to help us out."
Overall, Kral said the new federal attorney assigned to Toledo will be beneficial to allow the city to have access to these officers. Kral also stated that it is a way to learn how other cities have dealt with violent crime in those areas.