Cleveland officials say city's homicide solve rate is 'unacceptable'

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Antonio Montgomery, Jr. was shot and killed on the city's west side this summer.

"It's frustrating. I want justice," said Montgomery's mom, Nicole Scott.

Police haven't arrested Montgomery's killer.

"They keep shooting, they keep killing until they get caught. They will not get caught until we get the manpower and the resources in the public safety department to deal with the unsafe condition in the city of Cleveland," said Cleveland City Councilman Zack Reed.

As the number of homicides in the city has steadily increased since 2011, the number of those cases solved has decreased, as has the number of detectives working in the homicide unit.

"Unacceptable. it is just unacceptable," Reed said.

Cleveland Police Union President Steve Loomis -- who was voted out of the labor organization on Tuesday -- says it comes down to simple math.

"It's a lack of numbers our detectives have. Our homicide unit has gone down by 28 percent over the last 10 years," Loomis said.

If you compare the number of homicides Cleveland solves to other cities the same size, last year Omaha had 29 homicides, they made arrests in 86 percent of those cases, and had 37 detectives.

Raleigh had 23 homicides and solved 78 percent with 13 detectives.

Tulsa had 82 homicides and cleared 95 percent with 11 detectives.

Loomis says the answer is to hire more detectives, and that the money is already there.

"168 police officers below our budgeted staffing level. 168. Imagine what we could do with 168 police officers," Loomis said.

Reed argues the city needs to do better.

"All you can say to that mom is this; it is totally unacceptable. We've got to do better, and not keep promising them that we will do better, show them," Reed said.

In 2018, Cleveland officials have pledged to hire 250 new officers with hiring events already underway.

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