Columbus has set a new record for number of yearly homicides. Friday marked the city's 144th homicide so far in 2020.
That breaks the city’s previous record from 2017, with a month and a half left in the year.
The city’s homicides started off slowly, with lower than average rates at the beginning of the year thanks to Ohio's stay-at-home order during the pandemic. But high gun violence in the summer and fall contributed to the record-breaking number.
“Too many people. That can’t be Columbus, that just can’t be Columbus,” says Columbus City Council member Elizabeth Brown. “Younger people are dying, Black men, primarily young Black men are targets of violence, and we’ve got to find a way to do more and differently in Columbus.”
City officials say that a lack of youth programming mid-pandemic led to high rates of gun violence among young people.
Brown argues that fighting poverty is crucial to slowing the murder rate.
“It’s not just how we police, it’s not just how we intervene in direct violence and the trauma resulting from it,” Brown says. “It’s also about making families feel like they have a chance.”
The city will be implementing new programs to tackle the homicide rates, but they aren’t yet in place.