DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Homicides, car accidents and heroin overdoses significantly increased in 2016, the Dayton police chief says those are his three biggest focus areas for the new year.

His first concern, the homicide and crime rates. There were 39 homicides in 2016 compared to 28 in 2015 and 2014.

Crime trends in Dayton (Provided by the Dayton Police Department)

In the 2016 Crime Trends graph you can see an increase in the past three years both ‘Part 1’ (murders, robberies and aggravated assaults) and ‘Part 2’ (menacing and simple assault) crimes.

In 2016 there were 1,308 ‘Part 1’ offenses compared to 1,249 in 2015. Gun crimes were also up:

  • 2016 – 541
  • 2015 – 448
  • 2014 – 417

Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl says the numbers also show more people are dying when they’re injured during those acts of gun violence.

“In the last two years we’ve seen an increase in trends, which created a less safe environment. Our commitment is to do everything in our effort to reverse that.”

He notes while gun crime is up, crimes using another weapon besides a firearm are down. Those figures are depicted in the following line graph provided by the the police department:

Biehl says he’s heard about Dayton’s reputation for being dangerous, but says the crime rates aren’t comparable to what they were a decade ago.

“I don’t feel that. I know the community. I live in the community, we live in this community. So, we know how safe the environment is,” he said.

One of his strategies for bringing the crime rate down murders down is through bridging gaps in the community.

He believes creating stronger relationships between law enforcement and residents is essential.

“It’s about relationships, we recognize that and I think we’ve always recognized that that’s why we have all the efforts in place these past few years. Is everything perfect? No,” said Biehl.

Auto accidents have also seen an increase across the board. Biehl believes after the state took out traffic cameras drivers have been less cautious resulting in more accidents and deaths.

  • 2016 – 1,420 injury crashes
  • 2015 – 1,274 injury crashes
  • 2014 – 1,006 injury crashes

An alarming number is the increase in deadly crashes. In 2014, 16 people died in an accident compared to 30 in 2016.

“More traffic accidents, more injury accidents, and more deaths in the last two years,” explained Biehl.

Lastly, one of Biehl’s biggest focuses is on the heroin epidemic.

“We know the answer to that is aligning resources to need. For those who need treatment they need to understand how to access those services and they need to be available,” he said.

He says heroin overdoses used to be mostly confined to the “east side” of Dayton, but there seeing an increase on the “west side” now as well.

Dayton was called out to more than 1,200 overdoses in 2016 compared to a little under 1,000 in 2014.

Overdose service calls (Provided by Dayton Police Department)

He says these are all issues for law enforcement across the county and not only in Dayton.

2 NEWS reporter Maytal Levi asked, “Going into 2017 what’s your promise to the community?” He replied,  “We’re going to do our absolute best ability to work hard to address safety issues, but we also need the communities help.”

He says building stronger community police relations will help curb all three of these issues.

“Work with us, give us a chance,” he said.