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Columbus Police Chief: 'Our Resources Are Being Taxed'

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Adora Namigadde
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Chief Kim Jacobs issuing a "call to action and call to peace" on Monday afternoon, amid one of the deadliest years in Columbus history.

After a weekend with three more deaths from shootings, Columbus Division of Police Chief Kim Jacobs issued a "call to action and a call to peace" on Monday afternoon.

Jacobs said the police force needs the public's help in solving and preventing crime in a year when Columbus is experiencing a near record-high homicide rate. Columbus has so far seen 130 homicides in 2017. Only 52 of those cases have been solved.

The city is approaching a record year for homicides. Columbus recorded 139 in 1991.

Jacobs says an increase in indiscriminate shootings, lack of tips and lack of personnel are exacerbating the problem.

“Our resources are being taxed. Our overtime is significant at this point because of the increases. And our garage was full over the weekend, Saturday night, with cruisers that are arresting people,” Jacobs said. “It's not that we don't arrest people. We arrest people all the time, many times for violent crime and carrying guns.”

Jacbos says detectives are being overworked. She says it's best practice to have homicide detectives take lead on three cases a year, but they’ve all had to do more.

The most recent homicide occurred Monday afternoon around 4 p.m., just after Jacobs' press conference. Police say a suspect was arrested and a gun was recovered from the scene.

Jacobs says the opioid crisis has also played a role in the homicide increase.

Just a few weeks ago, we made an arrest of a vehicle that was carrying more fentanyl than we've ever seen before," Jacobs says. "Might be one of the largest fentanyl seizures in the country. That means there's a huge demand for drugs here.”

She says more people are turning to guns for disputes that, in the past, may have been solved through other means.

“Turf wars, whether it's over drugs, whether it's over gangs, whether it's over intimate partners," Jacobs says. "All of that kind of thing, there are disputes that are being handled with firearms now that used to be handled in less lethal ways.”

Jacobs says she wants as many more officers on staff as the city can afford, and will speak to Columbus City Council on Wednesday night. She also says people should call Columbus Police if they have any information on unsolved crimes in the city. 

Correction: In an earlier version of the story, it was reported 2017 was a record year for homicides. The actual record is 139 in 1991.

Adora Namigadde was a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU News in February 2017. A Michigan native, she graduated from Wayne State University with a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in French.