On Tuesday, September 8, Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz and Toledo Chief of Police George Kral held a news conference to officially declare gun violence a public health crisis.
During the conference, it was announced that the mayor’s Chief of Staff Katy Crosby and legislative director Gretchen DeBacker had been chosen to lead a program designed to address the rising threat of gun violence in the community.
The conference also addressed the results of Operation Red Zone, a program instituted over Labor Day Weekend. Through the duration of the program, which was also observed in Canton and Youngstown, any individual found carrying a gun that was not legally allowed to due to past convictions would face federal charges.
The holiday weekend saw two shootings in the Toledo area, but no homicides. Police Chief Kral deemed the effort a success, noting how the threat of federal charges would keep potential offenders at home.
The sharp rise in violent crime this year has been a pressing concern for local law enforcement. The shooting death of 15-year-old Tyler Jackson on September 3 was the city’s 40th homicide of 2020. This has already surpassed the number of homicides in 2019.