Akron Police say they cracked down on gun violence prior to UA shooting

‘This is not any kind of knee-jerk reaction’
Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 10:49 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 24, 2021 at 11:17 PM EDT

AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - It’s been a violent year in Akron.

The latest high-profile murder is a University of Akron student shot and killed at an off-campus party.

On Friday, 19 News learned another young man who was also shot at the party died from his injuries in the hospital.

Akron Police said they didn’t just start cracking down on gun violence now, everything they’re doing has been in the works for months.

“For at least a month now had extra details on Friday and Saturday night targeting our high violent areas throughout the city and one of them is the Exchange Street corridor,” said Akron Police Capt. David Laughlin.

Lots of attention has been paid to the recent death of 18-year-old freshman Maya McFetridge.

She was shot and killed at an off-campus party last Sunday and on Friday 19 News learned that another man who was shot at that same party, 25-year-old Alex Beasley, died from his injuries in the hospital.

“You know every life that’s lost in the city of Akron has a ripple effect in the community, has an impact on the police department,” said Laughlin.

Since then, the university has announced increased patrols by city and university police, a $1 million investment in cameras, and a $50,000 reward to catch the shooter.

“We have met with business owners to help them make sure they have a safe business model that’s community-friendly, been working with the university and the city administration for quite some time camera programs, new technology,” said Laughlin. “This is not any kind of knee-jerk reaction this is something that we’ve been working on and partnering with them for some time.”

Crime in Akron is up, at this point in 2019 24 people had been murdered, in 2020 that number was 36, and so far in 2021, 39 people have been murdered.

“There has to be prevention, there has to be enforcement, there has to be intervention,” said Laughlin. “It takes a community to attack this and it’s not an overnight success story. We didn’t get to this point instantaneously and it’s not gonna be a snap of a finger to get it done and it takes all of our community partners to attack this and work hand in hand and the mayor has earmarked I think over $10 million.”

Gun violence is definitely on the rise too.

From year to date in 2019 police responded to 332 shooting incidents, in 2020 that number was 527 and so far in 2021 we are at 532.

“We want them just to feel safe to sit on the front porch and enjoy a beautiful night and relax without having their neighbors getting shot or gun violence,” said Laughlin.

Akron Police captain David Laughlin said they have been working to get illegal guns off the street. He said through August police seized 916 guns, that’s a 60% increase compared to last year.

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