TOLEDO, Ohio — "What we are seeing in the city of Toledo is a gang problem."
That's according to Toledo mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz, after a recent string of gun-related crimes.
In a press conference held Wednesday, Mayor Kapszukiewicz and Toledo Police chief George Kral laid out the plan for the city's Operation Clean Sweep, an initiative to remove illegal guns from people who should not have them.
Here's how it will work: Chief Kral said a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) will be in the detective's bureau this weekend. Any time a TPD crew or officer make an arrest from Friday to Sunday and an illegal gun is found, it will be brought to the ATF agent to be screened.
If certain criteria are met, the suspect will be charged with a federal crime.
But Chief Kral says just because they are doing this operation this weekend doesn't mean police are not doing this every other day of the year.
Every Friday, TPD investigators sit down with federal prosecutors to review every single gun case that comes in. From there, they see where they can bring on those more serious charges.
The mayor stated in the press conference that violent crime numbers are down, but the most recent numbers show that's not the case.
So why such an urgency to operate a second Operation Clean Sweep in less than two months?
The mayor repeatedly referred back to the 1990s, when his current opponent, former mayor Carty Finkbeiner was mayor. Kapszukiewicz said violent crime was higher than today, when numbers are much lower.
We requested those numbers from the administration and are still waiting to get them back, but let's take a look at the data we showed you just last week:
- On Monday, police said since Jan. 1 of this year, the city of Toledo has experienced 1,209 shooting incidents.
- In those incidents, 174 people were shot.
- Comparing 2020 to 2019, Toledo saw 57 homicides up from 35, according to the 2020 Toledo Police annual report.
- There were also 223 rapes (up from 202) and 2,221 aggravated assaults (up from 1,728)
Mayor Kapszukiewicz attributes what were seeing in Toledo today as a gang problem, and says almost all tragedies the city is seeing this year are gang-related.
He adds those gun-related homicides are very targeted and the average person has nothing to worry about.
"The average Toledoan who plays by the rules and is simply trying to raise his kids, go to work, pay his bills, take his kid to soccer practice, that citizen is so mathematically unlikely to be a victim of what were talking about that is it irresponsible to think about it any other way," said Mayor Kapszukiewicz.