Cincinnati murders plunged in 2009

by Richard Todd (email)

(Cincinnati) FOX19 -- The number of murders in the City of Cincinnati plunged 20 per cent in 2009, reaching the lowest level since the riots of 2001.

60 people were killed last year, down from 75 in 2008.  The last time there was a lower number was in 2000, when there were 40, a number that soared and continued rising for years after three days of riots following a police shooting in 2001, the last in a series of controversial shootings of black men.

The murder total reached 89 in 2006, the highest number since continuous records have been kept.

After the rate rose, the problem was attacked in a number of ways.  The city and groups suing the city over issues related to the police shooting settled the lawsuits by forming a "collaborative agreement" to improve police community relations.  Terms of that agreement were judged to have been met by the mid-2000's and oversight by an appointed attorney was dropped.  The number of fatal police shootings, never among the highest among large US cities, dropped to very low levels.

Community groups, some formed by family members of murder victims, held marches and supported police in solving murders, while encouraging witnesses to come forward.  The city hired a consultant who done something similar in Boston to begin the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence, which singled out gang members and let them know that shooting by one member would result in punishment of all.

Whether or how much these efforts helped is hard to say, but the murder count that more than doubled between 2000 and 2006 has been reduced by a third since 2006.

City of Cincinnati murder statistics

2009 60  (lowest in 9 years-- a 20% drop since 2008)
2008 75
2007 68
2006 89  (highest in modern history)
2005 79
2004 68
2003 75
2002 66
2001 63
2000 40
1999 32
1998 28  (one of lowest numbers if not the lowest in modern history)