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The number of young people arrested with weapons in Dayton increases every year

The number of young people arrested with weapons in Dayton increases every year

DAYTON, Ohio (WKEF) – The number of juveniles arrested with firearms has increased every year since 2020. As of the end of last month, 46 juveniles were arrested for gun possession, more than in all of 2021.

In light of the recent gun violence in Dayton, the question arises as to how many firearms are actually illegally on the streets.

To understand the severity of the problem, one must look at the number of people arrested for gun possession who should not have such a weapon. These people include juveniles and violent criminals.

Major Brian Johns of the Dayton Police Department, who is also chief of the investigations division, said the high number of people arrested with firearms despite being prohibited from possessing them is a major problem for the city and frustrating for police.

“Overall, gun crime is a big problem here in Dayton, Ohio,” Johns said. “This year alone, seven juveniles have been murdered in the city of Dayton, and that’s a staggering number. Seven. I can’t remember it being anywhere near that many in my time here.”

According to John, it is not difficult for young people to get hold of weapons and gun thefts are common.

“The kids are buying them on the street, so we have a big problem with people leaving guns in their cars and those cars are often not even locked,” Johns said.

This is what the numbers look like since 2019.

Young people arrested with weapons:

  • 2019 – 30
  • 2020 – 24
  • 2021 – 42
  • 2022 – 65
  • 2023 – 94
  • 2024 – 46*

Adults arrested on a firearm warrant (these are people who have previously been convicted of violent crimes and are not allowed to possess firearms):

  • 2019 – 208
  • 2020 – 240
  • 2021 – 277
  • 2022 – 220
  • 2023 – 253
  • 2024 – 112*

* Until June 2024

Social media plays a role in getting young people interested in gun culture. Many young people post pictures of themselves with guns and thereby attract attention.

“Almost every day we see photos on social media of young people with loaded pistols in their waistbands. Sometimes with rifles. Sometimes there are multiple ones,” Johns said.

“Young people, 13, 14, 15, 16 years old, have these guns on Facebook,” said Dayton Mayor Jeffrey J. Mims, Jr.

It’s not just about getting guns off the streets. It’s also about changing the mindset of young people.

Mims and other leaders are working to bring violence intervention programs to the city.

He said they wanted to work with Dayton Public Schools to start conversations about guns and conflict management.

“Just a conversation about why guns. Just a conversation about safety around guns. If you see one where it doesn’t belong, tell an adult,” Mims said. “The young people are provided with different tools to help them deal with violence, with disagreements.”

Young people often learn from adults, so adults must be held accountable, according to Johns.

Johns said the system makes it difficult for law enforcement to combat serious criminals with firearms.

“We have cases where people with long criminal histories who are not allowed to own a firearm are arrested with a firearm and then released,” Johns said. “This does not do our victims any favors, does not do the citizens of Dayton any favors and makes police work extremely difficult.”

As for the city’s implementation of violence intervention programs, Mims said those are already in the works and he wants to implement them as soon as possible.