Crime falls in Dayton. But drugs, weapons violations surge

·3 min read

Jul. 26—Crime is down in Dayton, and some closely-watched violent crime categories have seen significant reductions, which is very different from what some U.S. cities have experienced, according to Dayton Police Department data.

In the first half of this year, Dayton has seen declines in homicides (-11%); rapes (-15%); aggravated robberies (-39%); robberies (-33%); and aggravated assaults (-7%), compared to the first two quarters of 2020.

Overall, crime has dropped 3% from last year and has declined 5%, compared to the same period in 2019.

By comparison, some other U.S. cities have seen surging numbers of violent crimes and homicides.

Aggravated assaults, including shootings, were rising early in the year, but police conducted gun-reduction initiatives (GRIs) that have made a difference, said Dayton police Maj. Brian Johns, commander of investigations and administrative services.

The police department completed 17 GRI operations between January and June involving traffic stops and other enforcement activities that are focused on gun-crime suspects and utilize uniformed patrol officers and plainclothes and undercover detectives, Johns said.

"They have been responsible for large numbers of gun recoveries and other arrests and drug recoveries," Johns said.

Police recovered 64 firearms from GRIs this year, and Johns said these operations have helped keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of dangerous individuals.

Police operations also seized 4,255 grams of various drugs including fentanyl, cocaine, crack, meth, heroin, and marijuana, police officials said.

Many of the suspects arrested by police have histories of violent crime, he said, and there also have been more federal prosecutions of gun crime offenses that Dayton police detectives on federal task forces have helped investigate.

U.S. District Court records show that some suspects arrested by Dayton police have been charged with federal crimes, commonly including unlawful possession of firearms due to previous felony convictions.

Dayton police also have received fewer reports of simple assault, forcible fondling and menacing.

Property crime has fallen by about 12% in the city, which includes burglaries, arsons, shoplifting, motor vehicle theft, vandalism and breaking and entering.

However, domestic violence-related simple assaults have risen 15%, and statutory rape and prostitution offenses also are up.

Drug and narcotics violations have climbed 30%, to 522 reports.

Johns said police are heavily focused on combating the drug trade because presently so many illegal drugs are laced with fentanyl, the deadly synthetic opioid that can be 50 times more potent than heroin.

"We're finding it in cocaine, we're finding it in methamphetamines, we're finding homemade pressed pills with fentanyl in it," he said.

The data show Dayton is struggling with domestic violence, Johns said, and authorities continue to have trouble getting victims to follow through with prosecution.

Many experts predicted that domestic violence incidents would soar during the pandemic because of extra stress, social isolation and people being stuck at home with abusers.

"I think it's important for the community to know that the Dayton Police Department is all about victims and trying to reduce crime and help those who are victims of crime," Johns said.

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