TOLEDO, Ohio — The chief of police of the Toledo Police Department is calling on the community to help stop the gun violence.
There have been 38 homicides in the Glass City which is the total number Toledo saw all of 2019. Seven of the ten homicides in August have involved victims under the age of 30.
According to Toledo Police Chief George Kral, a few of the homicides are revenge or pay-back type shootings. Detectives are still going through the evidence so he couldn't mention if there are any suspects at this time.
The chief believes there is an uptick in gang violence. Because of COVID-19, there has been a delay with bringing defendants to court and the chief said he has a stack of warrants ready to bring to a grand jury so shooters can be put away.
As of Aug. 24, Toledo police confiscated 1,010 illegal guns. There were 1,207 guns confiscated in 2019.
Chief Kral said he doesn't know if the guns are coming from burglaries, or if they're gun show purchases, or if people are coming from out of town and then selling them.
On Aug. 19, there was a burglary in Sylvania Township where 20 guns were reportedly stolen from a home and then ended up in Toledo. TPD investigators are working on the case and will provide more information later.
"We need our schools to step up. We need our faith-based leaders to step up and have us work together. This is a public health issue as much as it is a law enforcement issue," Chief Kral said.
2020 has certainly not been a normal year. The chief said, nationwide, the homicide rates are on average 25% higher than they were at this time last year.
"We've had COVID-19. We've had the George Floyd murder, the civil protests and unrest. I think all of that coupled together and telling people that you can't congregate with your friends. I think the heat that we've had this summer all comes together as a perfect storm," Chief Kral said.
The chief wants the community to be assured that they are investigating inner city crimes and he's confident they'll close as many homicides as they can.
Regarding the department's ShotSpotter program which is a gunshot audio detection system, the chief said he was planning on expanding to other parts of the city until COVID-19 hit.
He's working with a private industry partner to come up with a public-private partnership to help fund it because it is very expensive.
If 2020 ever calms down, Chief Kral said he'll be able to revisit the issue.