Warren officials held a press conference about the recent violence

WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) — Over the past two years, Warren police have confiscated 500 firearms, but people are still being shot. In the past eight days alone, Warren has seen a teenage girl murdered and six people shot. The problems are so severe that Warren town leaders met on Friday to announce solutions.

Surrounded by 15 Warren city leaders with 13 other sessions, Warren Mayor Doug Franklin and Chief Eric Merkel began by announcing changes to the police department.

“Unlimited overtime for our agents in our department. These overtime hours will include the Emergency Services Division,” Franklin said.

“Our street crime unit will begin to vary its hours in the evening and at night. They will drive around in unmarked cars looking for guns,” Merkel said.

They talked about the need to install more and better video cameras in high crime areas of Warren.

“We have had homicides. We approached management and years later another incident happens and still no cameras,” Merkel said.

Mayor Franklin suggested the city purchase cameras.

“I don’t care how we pay him. It’s up for debate whether it’s ARP. We’re going to make the investment one way or another,” Franklin said.

Franklin called on townspeople for help after several shootings where people were injured and one person died.

“We can’t wait for another young person’s life to be lost,” Franklin said. “We are asking for the help of the community to end this violence. Join us all in ending this senseless violence.

Chief Merkel said when someone with a long criminal record is arrested, she works with state and federal prosecutors.

“We’re going to look at state time that they can get and federal time and whichever is bigger, we’re going to go for it,” Merkel said.

The Chief also wants Warren City Council to change the discharge of a gun law from a misdemeanor to a felony.

“It’s almost a joke when you catch someone shooting a gun in the city, in this urban environment, when there are people everywhere, and you only accuse them of a fourth degree misdemeanor,” Merkel said.

One by one, others spoke, many of whom were pastors from Warren churches.

“Our goal is to save lives and safeguard the future of our young people and to be a resource,” said Reverend Todd Johnson.

“There is an attempt to reach out but there has to be a step back,” Reverend Avan Odom said.

Residents are encouraged to provide information about crimes in the city. Warren’s director of security and services, Eddie Colbert, said he heard firsthand from those affected by the violence.

“I specifically know several mothers right now who are crying at home because they’re afraid their son won’t survive this weekend,” Colbert said.

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