Dayton PD Chief credits community with downward trend in violent crime

Local News
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DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Violent crime the last 12 months has trended higher than the previous 12, but has taken a significant dive since the end of May and the George Floyd protests.

The numbers were from statistics and analysis from Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl. Biehl told local media on Friday morning that while violent crime the last 12 months (Aug. 20, 2019, to Aug. 20, 2020) was up four percent overall from the previous 12 months (which included the Oregon District shooting), numbers have fallen across all categories over the summer since May 30.

Biehl said it’s too early to tell if this is an ongoing trend, but he was happy with the results considering violent crime numbers are up in many cities across the country following the death of Floyd on May 25 and the protests that followed.

Violent crime down significantly since May

Biehl said comparing year-to-year 2020 vs. 2019 numbers from May 30 to August 20, gun crime was down 35 percent while gun crime with injury was down 22 percent.

“This really significant decline, with every single crime category in the negative, is remarkable,” Biehl said. “Whether we include the victims of the Oregon District shooting (in the statistics) or not, it’s a significant share over the last three months.”

Biehl credited the crime rate dropping to the nature of the Dayton community. He said he felt the city reacted with maturity during the crises of 2019 (the Memorial Day Tornado Outbreak, the Oregon District Shooting), along with other community factors.

“I think a number of those (2019) events taught us how our fate, our lives and well being are tied to one another,” Biehl said. “I think that comes into play.”

He said Dayton didn’t experience nearly the amount of violence other cities in the state and the country had following the death of George Floyd. He said he has learned in his decade being Chief of Police in Dayton the city reacts differently than other places.

“While we didn’t experience anywhere near the violence of other jurisdictions also matters, too,” Biehl said. “Even though there were some strongly held views that were expressed during protests and strong emotions responding to crises and tragedies around the country, I still think there was a responsibility that this community has demonstrated since the decade I’ve been here.”

Biehl said he noticed Dayton functioned differently as a community once he began his job here. He said people are capable of having difficult discussions and come away with different conclussions and still work together.

“We are a small-big town,” Biehl said. “We have all the amenities of a major urban area, but here if they people don’t know each other personally, they know people in key leadership positions and they feel comfortable reaching out to individuals and expressing concerns. There’s been a healthy dialogue that I’ve seen here for more than a decade.”

Crime up significantly the last 12 months

Not all the data, however, has a good story to tell.

Biehl said homicides were up 13 percent over the last 12 months (Aug. 20, 2019, to Aug. 20, 2020, vs. Aug. 20, 2018, to Aug. 20, 2019) compared to the 12 months prior. Aggravated assaults were up 15 percent.

Removing the Oregon District shooting from the 2019 statistics, violent crimes were up 6.8 percent the last 12 months, while homicides were up 42 percent and aggravated assaults were up 19 percent.

To view the Dayton Police Department’s latest crime stats, read them in this PDF of the department presentation.

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