In response to a string of shootings over the weekend that left two people dead, Omaha's new police chief plans changes in how detectives investigate such crimes.
“We are streamlining some of our processes in the homicide and gang units so we can more effectively defuse problems and reduce gun crimes in our city,” Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said in a statement Monday.
Lt. Darci Tierney, a police spokeswoman, said the main focus will be better communication and coordination among detectives in the gang and homicide units.
Five shootings in less than 24 hours over the weekend left two people dead and five injured. As of Monday, Omaha had recorded its 23rd homicide of the year, compared with 20 this time last year.
Tierney said police are looking into what led to the shootings to determine if they are connected to other crimes. Violence tends to be cyclical, she said, and the recent wave “isn't completely out of the ordinary.”
“Typically, shootings aren't random,” Tierney said. “(Victims) are usually targeted for some reason or another.”
Kim Prince, 47, was found dead about 8:35 p.m. Sunday at 5319 Hartman Ave. Two teens, Davante Mitchell, 19, and Kenyon Muhammad, 18, were injured in the shooting but are expected to survive.
Although Prince was found in the home, it wasn't clear whether she was shot there, said Sgt. Teresa Negron.
Also killed over the weekend was Damion Davis, 29, whose body was found Sunday morning in the backyard of a vacant home at 5917 N. 30th St.
Earlier that day officers were called to Immanuel Medical Center, where shooting victim Edward Moore, 46, had sought help. Moore told officers he was shot while walking near 29th and Seward Streets.
Two more shootings occurred just after midnight Sunday. Both victims suffered injuries that were not considered life-threatening.
Mayor Jim Suttle named Schmaderer as police chief last week. The chief said he wants the department to more effectively target the small number of people who commit the most violent crimes.
In addition to internal departmental changes, Schmaderer wants Omaha police to work more closely with other agencies. The department on Monday announced an advertising campaign in conjunction with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that encourages people to report gun crimes.
Billboards and Omaha Metro bus signs now carry the messages “Report Gun Crimes” and “1 Firearm + 1 Arrest = $500.”
The billboards are located near the intersections of North 38th Street and Ames Avenue; North 58th Street and Northwest Radial; North 30th Street and Myrtle Avenue; and South 26th Avenue and Q Street.
The billboards and signs include the Crime Stoppers hotline number and website: (402-444-STOP) and www.omahacrimestoppers.net.
People providing information can remain anonymous.
Police, Crime Stoppers and ATF officials plan to hold a press conference today further outlining the campaign.
World-Herald staff writer Bob Glissmann contributed to this report.
Contact the writer: 402-444-3100, firstname.lastname@example.org