Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence works to lower homicide rate in city

CINCINNATI -- The number of homicides in Cincinnati has gone up citywide over the past three months.

Based on data released by the Cincinnati Police Department, the number has jumped 28 percent since the end of May.

To date, 49 homicides have taken place this year.

At this time last year there were only 29. There were 53 homicides for the full year. 

It’s important to point out the number is somewhat inflated given the fact 2012 was a "statistical anomaly," according to officials from the police department. But that doesn’t change the fact the city is on pace to have the most violent deaths in a single year since 2008, when 73 people were killed.

The modern-day record is 89 in 2006, according to the website City-Data.com.

Those numbers are disconcerting to members of the organization Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV).

CIRV is is a multi-agency and community collaborative effort initiated in 2007 designed to quickly and dramatically reduce gun-violence and associated homicides, with sustained reductions over time. The initiative is a focused-deterrence strategy that is modeled after the Boston Gun Project from the mid-1990s, according to the CPD website.

The partnership among multiple law enforcement agencies (local, state and federal), social service providers and the community was established to deliver a clear message to violent street groups: the violence must stop.

"We are strategically planning our spots of how we can engage people who are carrying guns and selling dope. And trying to be a bridge to let them know (they can) turn (their) lives around,” said Shelia Davis, a member of CIRV. “We share that and let them know that we can help them make ... changes in their lives."

Officials deliver that message through a number of mechanisms, including call-in sessions with probationers and parolees; direct contact through street workers (street advocates), police, probation, and parole officers; community outreach; and media outlets.

Another approach is through the annual Crosstown Peace-Out basketball game, a local celebrity basketball held Saturday at Bond Hill Recreation Center. All proceeds from the game benefit the stop-the-violence cause Project Nehemiah Ceasefire.

In addition to serving as a fundraiser for local non-violence initiatives, the game provides a pulpit from which city leaders can speak about the importance of a collective push for peace.

"This is all about showcasing positive role models and reinforcing the message that the violence must stop," City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld wrote in a news release about last year’s inaugural event.

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9 On Your Side reporter Amy Wadas contributed to this report.

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