In a report to the Cincinnati City Council, the city police department said that crime had declined in 2020 despite a record high number of murders.
Lt. Col. Mike John said Wednesday that while violent crimes increased 2.4% compared to 2019, property crimes decreased 12.6%. This means that combined crime decreased by 10.6%.
“It was nowhere near our worse year,” said John.
This is at least the 10th year in a row that the city’s crime rate has decreased. These data are based on reported crimes and not on arrests or convictions.
John said 11,674 property crimes and 2,034 violent crimes were reported over the past year.
Police also conducted a survey of 67 of the country’s largest law enforcement agencies, which found that the number of violent crimes in major cities rose across the country from January to September.
In these cities, murders increased nearly 28.7% from 2019 and in Cincinnati 28.8%. The number of serious assaults rose 10.6% in these cities, but 21.2% in Cincinnati.
But not all violent crimes increased. Reported rapes fell nearly 20% in the city and robberies fell 8.6%, in line with trends across the country.
While the increase in shootings and killings was largely the same across neighborhoods, John said the only surprise about shootings was the high number that occurred in “CUF”: Clifton Heights, University Heights and Fairview around the University of Cincinnati.
18 people were shot dead in the three districts in 2020. In the previous five years there was an average of only eight per year.
John noted that there had been a spike in car thefts, partly due to increased use of Uber Eats and Doordash. Apparently, drivers for these services found their cars stolen at a higher rate.
Lt. Col. Lisa Davis gave an overview of murders. There were 94 murders in 2020, breaking the 2006 record of 88.
Davis said the killings are still taking place in what the police call “violent areas”. These areas have shown long-term generational problems with violence.
According to the data, most murders were committed in the West End in 2020, with Over-the-Rhine and Avondale also topping the list of violent neighborhoods.
According to Davis, by Wednesday about 67% of the murders in the city in 2020 had been solved or otherwise closed, which is above the national average.
She also praised the work of the Cincinnati Citizens Respect Our Witnesses organization, which works to ensure that crime witnesses take a step forward.
The city’s homicide detectors know who committed about 85% of all murders, Davis said, but due to the lack of willing witnesses, cases cannot always move forward.