Our local police-state apologist broadcast news stations, such as Sinclair-owned WSYX Channel 6, can’t resist to lead their shows with the bloody crime-of-the-day from some of our urban neighborhoods.

Nothing like a morning and nightly dose of urban violence to get out the conservative vote or push back against defunding the police. In case anyone needs reminding, Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns roughly 200 local news stations, is pro-Trump and has ideas on rivaling Fox News.

Mayor Ginther has held three press conferences addressing this apparent spike in violence. And even though the call for less police has never been louder, Chief Quinlan has recently suggested more officers are needed to prevent gun violence.

“In my opinion, that is a bad idea, and many agents of change are also in disagreement with Columbus police brainstorming ideas,” says activist Cynthia Brown, founder and president of De-Escalate Ohio Now! HeartbeatMovement, a Columbus-based nonprofit honoring her 30-year-old nephew Kareem Ali Nadir Jones who in 2017 was shot in the back and killed by Columbus police. (The police body cam video of Kareem’s death can be viewed here.)

The Columbus police officers the Free Press has been speaking with off-the-record this summer are adamant that more policing is not the answer.

“The community needs to be more involved. We need solutions to the underlining causes of crime. If you fix the underlining causes, this will stop the crime wave. You have to give more opportunity. More education,” said one officer.

“There’s a big divide in income here – a huge divide,” said another officer. “The haves and the have nots. If we start making more ‘haves’ then we would have less crime.”

The officers we spoke with also agree the division is over-policing certain urban neighborhoods. “We have been casting a wide net on everybody,” said one officer.

“We need to defund the police to a certain point,” said the officer. “We are doing everybody’s job. We shouldn’t be dealing with mental health unless it’s related to a crime. It’s hard for us to police when we are doing everything. We need to defund those things and give it to other agencies so they can take that up.”

Another officer added, “The police have problems themselves. The protests are legitimate. We still have a problem with police brutality. Just because you protest one thing doesn’t mean you can’t be for another thing.”

Columbus police have initiated a new youth services unit transferring officers to the program is underway. The mission will be to reach out to young people and make a connection. Unfortunately, says one officer, the pandemic has stalled the unit from engaging our at-risk youth.

To be clear, Columbus homicide numbers are on pace with the record year of 2017 when there were 143 homicides. But while tragic and alarming, should a spike in local crime be ballyhooed as much as Channel 6 loves to do?

Crime often spikes during the summer, plus the entire US has been flooded with guns for decades, also consider Columbus populationhas exploded over the last twenty years.

But Columbus police spokesperson Sgt. James Fuqua, who has ignored all Free Press requests to speak during this summer of protest, eagerly goes on our local broadcast news repeating how crime is “out of control.”

What is also out of control during the pandemic are residents being evicted from their apartments in the Near East and other urban neighborhoods. Forced to leave their belongings and furniture in alleys, yet the city seems unable to handle the clean-up. Perhaps giving away those 15-year 100-percent property tax abatements has been out of control.

Sgt. Fuqua said the pandemic has caused the kids to become idle, they don’t have much to do.

“We would be silly if we did not acknowledge that that has a huge role in the spike in violence,” he recently told Channel 6.

Within Sgt. Fuqua’s own department, however, several Columbus police officers told the Free Press that “idleness” is almost a laughable explanation for why our young people act out criminally.

Last Sunday night, the Marion-Franklin Civic Association held a community dinner to address a recent crime wave in the Southfield area. Channel 6’s Sinclair-owned partner (in promoting fear) Fox 28 was there, as was former progressive congressional Democratic candidate Morgan Harper, who was representing Columbus Stand Up, a new organization she has aligned with which will be hosting similar neighborhood meetings up until the Election.

Harper was there offering support, and unlike Channel 6 and Fox 28, she has solutions, even if some solutions for now appear impossible.

“There has been an increase in violence, (but) we are currently seeing people under more extreme conditions,” said Harper to the Free Press. “The pandemic and its economic impact are disproportionately impacting those earning lower incomes and young people.”

Harper believes this year of years has finally made us “hit rock bottom as a society in many ways.”

“The question is, how do we rebuild?” she asks. “Our first priority has to be helping people meet their basic needs through a combination of direct service and policy solutions. There weren’t that many young people at the event – and we all need to be hearing from young people directly about what they need.”