Homicides, shootings down in Cleveland as crime stats signal citywide improvements

Are Cleveland's streets getting safer? Police data shows a downward trend in violent crime.
Are Cleveland's streets getting safer? Police data shows a downward trend in violent crime.(WOIO)
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 3:37 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 20, 2022 at 3:55 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Violent crimes, including homicides and felonious assaults, are on a downward trend in Cleveland, according to police data.

Cleveland Chief of Police Wayne Drummond said the department has a strategic plan to lower violent crime, and they appear to be getting results.

“It’s targeting those particular areas, targeting those individuals we know are trigger pullers, getting them off the street,” Drummond said when he was officially sworn-in to the position in July.

19 Crime Tracker compared homicide data from January 1 through September 20, 2021 to data from the same time period in 2022 and found a 6% decrease year to year.

In 2021, there were 132 homicides in Cleveland through Sept. 20.

So far this year, at least 124 deaths have been ruled or are being investigated as homicides, according to records from the Cleveland Division of Police and Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Of the 124 ruled or suspected homicides to date in 2022, almost all of the victims - 113 people - were fatally shot.

While the number of guns confiscated by police have dropped significantly in 2022, according to crime data from the Division of Police, felonious assaults with firearms are down 22.60% citywide compared to 2021.

In the police department’s Fourth District, on the city’s southeast side, data through Sept. 3 shows the felonious assault shootings have dropped by 30.88%.

”We know our hot spots, there’s no question about it,” Drummond said. “I’ve been on the job for 33 years. Our hot spots are pretty consistent, unfortunately, so we know where are hot spots are.”

Both Chief Drummond and Mayor Justin Bibb credited the department’s partnerships with local and state law enforcement agencies, including the Ohio State Highway Patrol, with helping to lower crime through coordinated efforts like Operation S.T.O.P and Operation Wheels Down, which targeted dangerous and illegal driving on city streets.

Together, those traffic stings netted 20 felony arrests and the recovery of five firearms.

“Those kinds of tactics are going to continue,” Bibb said in July.

The police chief said the department is also “leveraging” its partnerships with federal law enforcement agencies, like the U.S. Marshals, DEA, ATF and FBI. The city is working to get violent criminals into the federal court system, where the chief says the offenders are more likely to receive longer prison sentences.

“My priority obviously is to continue to identify individuals in those hot spots who are trigger pullers, get them out of our community, and get them out of our communities for a long time,” Drummond said.

Several homicide cases in Cleveland remain unsolved. If you have any information about a murder, shooting, or other violent crime, you can report tips anonymously by calling Cuyahoga County Crime Stoppers at 216-25-CRIME.

EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the number of homicides reported from Jan. 1 through Sept. 20, 2021 and the percentage change in homicides from year-to-year. It has been corrected.