CINCINNATI -- Shootings and homicides are down by double digits. Cincinnati police have newer, better vehicles. There are nearly 150 fresh recruits working on the force. A new crime strategy is seeing results. And morale is up.
Still, there was a slight increase last year in Part 1 violent crimes, a category that includes rape, robbery and aggravated assault.
Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac, now on the job for more than a year, and City Manager Harry Black outlined those year-end statistics for a special meeting of City Council's Law and Public Safety Committee on Wednesday.
Specifically, there were 2,351 Part 1 violent crimes reported in 2016:
- Homicides decreased from 71 to 62, a 12.7 percent decline.
- Fatal and nonfatal shootings decreased from 479 to 426, a 11.1 percent decline.
- There were two fewer aggravated assaults reported in 2016 compared with the year before.
The slight increase came from robberies and rapes: Cincinnati had 1,276 robberies reported last year and 252 rapes, up about 1.6 percent each.
"It's an ongoing quest," Black said. "You know, we've gotten through 2016, now we're in 2017, so we must pursue those same fundamentals to try to generate good results."
Half of the city's six police districts saw year-to-year decreases in violent crimes. Those that didn't include the Central Business District, based at The Banks; District Five, which covers parts of Uptown and the central-west neighborhoods; and District Three, which covers the city's West Side.
With an 8 percent spike, District Three had the steepest increase in Part 1 violent crimes in 2016. But there's been some success with the Place-Based Investigations of Violent Offender Territories, or PIVOT, strategy unveiled this time last year, Black and Isaac said.
In East Westwood, part of District Three, the area near Baltimore and McHenry avenues saw a 70 percent reduction in violence since the PIVOT strategy began there. At the other end of McHenry, near Harrison Avenue, there's been a 20 percent decline in violence.
"It's encouraging," Isaac said. "I think that it's starting to have the impact that we desired."
He also said getting people from the community involved is essential to decreasing crime. In Avondale, Linda Minor said she has faith in the job Cincinnati police are doing to make the city a safer place. She lost her son to violence six years ago.
"I bless them," Minor said. "They got a hard job to deal with folks today."
Isaac said the police department is working on getting more witnesses to come forward to help solve crimes.
"There's a lot of moving parts," Isaac said, "and I think it takes that collective to really have a positive effect."