CPD And Community Members Clash Over Reasons For Youth Violence

Jul 11, 2019

The Cincinnati Police Department wants to increase police presence in crime hot spots in hopes of reducing violent crime.

They say 32 people have died in shootings this year, including five teenagers killed since June.

There have been 176 people shot so far this year.

Mayor John Cranley says although the city is experiencing historic lows, it doesn't replace the lives lost. "We are asking people to put their guns down and to take accountability and not take another life," he says.

Police Chief Eliot Isaac says to increase police presence they will reduce some support units, lower supervisor police rank and use overtime funding. He says the department is enforcing a curfew in hopes of decreasing youth violence. "Our belief is when you have young people that are out at 2 and 3 in the morning there is something going on in that family," he says. "We're not looking for a heavy-handed approach to that but we want to offer assistance to those families."

"I don’t appreciate them saying it starts at home because in this case it doesn't," says Patricia Franklin, whose 14-year-old son Cameron was killed last Saturday.

Franklin describes her son as respectful, sweet and loving. She adds that her son wasn't perfect and got caught up in the wrong crowd.

CPD is investigating the killing of 14-year-old Cameron Franklin, who died July 6.
Credit Ambriehl Crutchfield / WVXU

She says Cameron got into a fight at West High School during the school year and believes his death was retaliation. Franklin says after the fight, Cameron kept hearing, "'He's a snitch, he's a snitch. You're going to get yours because you're nothing but a snitch.' "

She says Cameron communicated to his school that he was afraid mediation wouldn't solve the problem. "My thing is why wasn't it being investigated then?" she questions.

Franklin says she tried to seek help from others and stresses that services need to be available for parents.

"I feel maybe if they would have something for these kids. Literally Price Hill has nothing for these kids after a certain time," she says.

Franklin still lives in the neighborhood with her 12-year-old son. She says she fears what will happen next.

Peter Fonmingo works for the city doing outreach in communities. "There are a lot of people out there that feel like they are disenfranchised and they don't have a voice; because of their past records feel like life is over," he says.

During a Thursday press conference, public officials emphasized the role families and communities play in implementing preventive measures.

"The government can't solve every one of these issues," Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman said. "This is a collective effort on all of our parts to keep our community safe."

"There are a lot of parents who are good parents who work at night," Fomingo says. "A lot of parents are single parents." He says in the past, recreation centers and churches stayed open later so young people had a safe place to go.

According to CPD data, since 2015 the average fatalty from shootings is 31 at this time of the year.