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After recent gun violence involving juveniles, police chief says violence prevention starts at home

Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac talks about a rise in deadly violence in October.
Bill Rinehart
Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac talks about a rise in deadly violence in October 2021.

Cincinnati has fewer homicides than last year, but there's been a spike in violence in the last week. Six people have been shot and killed since Oct. 8.

Police Chief Eliot Isaac says there were 94 murders in 2020, and as of Friday afternoon, 75 this year. He says what else is different is that many of the victims and suspects are juveniles.

"We talk about the inability to resolve violence in a way that doesn't result in loss of life. And then the opportunity for these young people to access firearms," he says. "We're not talking about some cheap old gun that belonged to grandpa. We're talking about Glocks, AR-15s."

Isaac says officers have seized about 1,300 firearms this year. He says that's a record. But young people are still shooting each other.

"We talk about people that are purchasing these weapons illegally, and purchasing them legally and then passing them on to young people," Isaac says. "They're being stolen from people's vehicles. They're just entering the community by a number of ways. We need to really make sure people are being responsible with the weapons that they possess."

Isaac says police will do what they can, but violence prevention starts at home. "Parents need to be responsible for their kids. If you have 14- and 15-year-old kids that are out here committing violent crime, that begins at home. There's no way to sugarcoat that. That has to start at home."

Isaac says the department is talking with juvenile court judges, the Cincinnati Public Schools superintendent, and any group that is willing to work to find creative ways to address violence. "We can respond and we can arrest someone, but when you're talking about changing people's hearts and their motives, those are very deep and complex things that take a while to uncover and unfold."

Bill Rinehart started his radio career as a disc jockey in 1990. In 1994, he made the jump into journalism and has been reporting and delivering news on the radio ever since.