CPD: Violent Crime in Cincinnati Hits 10-Year Low, Medical Experts Push for More Mental Health Resources

"We cannot ignore the pressing need to address the mental health issues that accompany gun violence," medical experts said during Thursday's meeting.

Feb 24, 2023 at 5:32 pm
click to enlarge Violent crime in Cincinnati is at a 10-year low, with 1,748 reported cases of violent crime in 2022. - Photo: Somchai Kongkamsri, Pexels
Violent crime in Cincinnati is at a 10-year low, with 1,748 reported cases of violent crime in 2022.

A year after Cincinnati City Council declared the city’s gun violence a public health emergency, violent crime rates have reached a 10-year low.

The stats

Cincinnati Police Department Lieutenant Colonel Mike John went over 2022 violent crime statistics during a special meeting of the Climate, Environment and Infrastructure committee on Feb. 23. John told the committee that violent crime – which accounts for cases of homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault – is up 3% in the U.S., but Cincinnati's 2022 numbers are down by 1.1% from the previous year.

“We’ve actually made some headway, which is encouraging,” John said.

John went on to point out that violent crime in Cincinnati is at a 10-year low, with 1,748 reported cases of violent crime in 2022, more than one thousand less than 2012.

click to enlarge A year after declaring the city’s gun violence a public health emergency, Cincinnati's violent crime rates have reached a 10-year low. - Photo: Cincinnati Police Department
Photo: Cincinnati Police Department
A year after declaring the city’s gun violence a public health emergency, Cincinnati's violent crime rates have reached a 10-year low.

John said 2022 saw 401 shooting victims, and of those, 61 were fatal. That number varies only slightly from 2021 when 405 people were shot, but resulted in 82 deaths. 2020's COVID spike in shooting deaths stands out with 486 shot and 84 killed.

CPD crime stats show 78 homicides, including non-gun-related deaths, happened in the city in 2022, down from the 94 homicides reported in 2021. Rapes ticked upward, though, going from 232 reported cases in 2021 to 293 in 2022. Robbery also increased slightly, with 647 cases in 2021 and 654 in 2022. Aggravated assault trended downward with 874 cases in 2021 and 801 in 2022.

The neighborhoods

John said he doesn’t “claim to be an epidemiologist” but pointed out that, much like disease, crime tends to cluster geographically.

West End was the top neighborhood for shooting victims in 2022 and 2021, with Over-the-Rhine (OTR) coming in second and Avondale in third. The graph shows OTR has the highest average number of shooting victims over a five-year period.

click to enlarge The Cincinnati Police Department's breakdown of shooting victims by neighborhood. - Photo: Cincinnati Police Department
Photo: Cincinnati Police Department
The Cincinnati Police Department's breakdown of shooting victims by neighborhood.
click to enlarge The Cincinnati Police Department's breakdown of violent crime by neighborhood. - Photo: Cincinnati Police Department
Photo: Cincinnati Police Department
The Cincinnati Police Department's breakdown of violent crime by neighborhood.

John emphasized that the clusters of violent crime are reflective of specific sections of neighborhoods, not the entire neighborhood area.

"West End, Other-the-Rhine, Avondale; there are pockets within these neighborhoods which are particularly challenging, so it's not a descriptor of the total neighborhood, but we certainly have very focused areas where the crime clusters," John said.

The people

After sliding through nine slides worth of charts and cold hard numbers, John paused on a screen filled with pictures of the shooting victims from 2022.

"I really didn't want to insult families and say that your family member is just a number to us. Your family is a person," he said.

click to enlarge The faces of those killed by gun violence in Cincinnati in 2022. Angel wings represent those without a photo available. - Photo: Cincinnati Police Department, Open Source Photos
Photo: Cincinnati Police Department, Open Source Photos
The faces of those killed by gun violence in Cincinnati in 2022. Angel wings represent those without a photo available.

John said CPD's closure rate for homicide cases outperforms the national average, with 74% of cases closed in 2021. The national closure rate is just around 50%.

The solution

Dr. Amy Makley, director of trauma surgery at University of Cincinnati Medical Center, addressed the committee on the hospital's partnership with the city to reduce gun deaths.

"Disproportionally the majority of our victims are young healthy adults and teenagers. Gun violence does remain the third leading injury we see, it is second only to motor vehicle collisions and falls," Makley said. "We cannot ignore the pressing need to address the mental health issues that accompany gun violence, especially with victims of violence in suicide."

Makley mentioned a new program starting Feb. 24 that will connect victims of gun violence who leave UC Medical with people who can help them mentally recover and process the trauma that comes from gun violence.

Cincinnati City Council is considering expanding its free gun lock program to encourage more compliance with its recently passed gun storage law. On Feb. 8, council unanimously approved an ordinance requiring gun owners who live with children to lock up their weapons at home, either in a gun safe or locked box, or by placing a lock on the gun itself. The ordinance mentions the October shooting death of a three-year-old in Cincinnati. The child’s six-year-old brother reportedly shot and killed the toddler after finding a loaded gun in their home. The ordinance also mentions the death of an eight-year-old who shot and killed himself after finding a handgun in his house.

The ordinance also bars those convicted of domestic violence charges from owning a weapon.The domestic violence rule for gun ownership is already a federal law, but the new local law would allow Cincinnati’s legal department to prosecute. Conviction of either gun laws would result in a first degree misdemeanor, resulting in up to one year in jail. CPD's crime breakdown shows 21 people were shot and killed in a domestic violence dispute in 2022.


Follow CityBeat's staff news writer Madeline Fening on Twitter and Instagram.

Coming soon: CityBeat Daily newsletter. We’ll send you a handful of interesting Cincinnati stories every morning. Subscribe now to not miss a thing.

Follow us: Google News | NewsBreak | Reddit | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter