COLUMBUS, Ohio — Homicide rates have almost doubled this year compared to the same time last year, according to data released by the Columbus Division of Police.
As of May 31, Columbus police have recorded 83 homicide investigations. Last year on May 31, the city had 43 homicide investigations.
So far, just 47% of this year's homicides have been solved. Police said they've arrested or identified 40 suspects.
Last year, the city broke a record for homicides, surpassing 170. The previous record was set in 2017 with 143.
Columbus has had three mass shootings this year, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research group based in Washington that tracks shootings across the U.S.
Most recently, seven people were injured and a 16-year-old girl was killed in Bicentennial Park in downtown Columbus on May 22. Police are investigating, but no suspects have been identified.
Following the shooting, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther said the city is preparing for a "summer of violence."
“I've said it before. I will say it again, and I will keep saying it: Put the guns down," Ginther pleaded at a press conference the following day.
Gov. Mike DeWine also used the same phrase — "summer of violence" — following a mass shooting in Springfield near Columbus.
"We're looking toward a summer of violence in our cities. We have to take action," DeWine said.
The rising number of homicides follows a national trend. In 2020, there were 19,402 homicides recorded in the U.S. and 610 mass shootings, according to the Gun Violence Archive.
This year as of Thursday, 8,528 shootings and 258 mass shootings have been recorded. From Jan. 1 to the end of April, there were 160 shootings that injured and/or killed four or more people. Compared to the same period last year, around 90 were documented.
The F.B.I. releases full violent crime statistics for 2020 in September. In 2019, violent crime was down 0.5% from 2018.