As part of larger crime reduction effort, Cincinnati police visibility overtime nets 500 arrests

Blackwell: Arrest data only one way to measure

CINCINNATI – An increase in arrests doesn’t necessarily please Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell as the results of the first two months of police visibility overtime come to light.

Admittedly, though, it is one of the only ways to quantify and measure the effectiveness of additional spending, Blackwell told WCPO late Monday evening.

Police visibility overtime (PVO) was part of plan earlier this year to combat violent crime and focus police resources on hotspots. The plan included boosting the ranks with a lateral transfer class and a fresh, 60-member police academy recruit class scheduled for later this year.

The $1.2 million visibility effort, planned over the current and next fiscal year, allowed for commanders in each of the city’s five districts to spend the resources as they saw fit depending on each district’s needs. With the help of patrol administration commander Capt. Gary Lee, former District 1 commander, a 34-page report outlining the specifics of PVO deployment will be made public Wednesday.

WCPO obtained an advance copy of the analysis.

Early results show:

• Citywide, more than 500 additional felony and misdemeanor arrests have been made between March 8 and May 8, including the seizure of eight guns on city streets, according to a police analysis obtained by WCPO.

District 1: Violent crime reduced from 10 incidents in the 30 days preceding the additional funding to three incidents in the first 30 days of increased PVO. From April 6 to May 3, one violent crime was reported in the northeast and southeast areas of Over-the-Rhine – areas police identified that needed extra presence.

District 2: Serious crime (aggravated assault, rape, homicide, robbery, arson, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft) was reduced in four of the five areas receiving additional patrols by at least 23 percent. Efforts in District 2 included “covert officers for surveillance and drug investigations and uniform officers assigned to high-visibility foot, bicycle and Segway patrols between the hours of 4 p.m. and midnight,” according to the police analysis.

District 3: A 21 percent decrease in violent crime, and a 6 percent decrease in serious crime. Police say PVO resulted in a 9 percent year-to-date reduction in calls for service compared to the previous 10-year average, equivalent to 700 fewer calls. During the police department’s town hall series, west side residents largely complained of long response times. Increased efforts were largely focused in areas along Warsaw Avenue in East Price Hill, Harrison Avenue in Westwood and West Liberty Street in West Price Hill.

District 4: A 16 percent reduction in homicides, robberies, felonious assaults, and burglaries compared with the same time period in 2013. District commander Capt. Michael Neville focused PVO resources on blight abatement enforcement in Avondale and Walnut Hills, which included walking patrols in and around problem properties.

District 5: Areas receiving additional patrols resulted in 11 percent fewer calls for service and a 35 percent reduction in robberies.  District commander Capt. Paul Neudigate focused resources on combating robberies, a high-profile issue in the areas surrounding the University of Cincinnati. Additional plain clothed and uniformed patrols were deployed in the Clifton, University Heights and Fairview Heights neighborhoods. The end result of the first 60 days was a 35 percent reduction compared to the previous 110-day period, according to the police analysis.

Cranley, Blackwell and other police officials will further outline PVO efforts at a press conference scheduled for 10:15 a.m. at District 4 headquarters on Reading Road.

WCPO will update this story as more information becomes available.

READ: Crime and justice stories from Kareem Elgazzar
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