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Safety initiative to reduce number of homicides

CINCINNATI (Jeff Hirsh) -- More officers on the street, that's just one part of the plan for the Cincinnati Police Department. Police and city leaders have a new initiative with the goal of giving officers the tools they need to both prevent and solve crimes.
The Law and Public Safety Committee met Monday to talk about the crime numbers. Homicides for the beginning of 2014 are up 39% from the same time in 2013.

Mayor John Cranley and some members of council announced a six-point plan to try to reduce the number of homicides. Police staffing is at its lowest in 17 years. The plan calls for more overtime to target specific hotspots of crime. They'd like to bring in 12 to 20 already trained police officers from smaller departments. A new recruit class would bring in 60 new recruits. They would like to reconstitute CIRV, to help bad guys know how to turn their lives around or the police are going to come after they. It's been discussed for years, but they'd like to develop a gang unit. Finally, there are plans for youth initiatives to try to prevent young people from turning to a life of crime.

They say all this will cost a lot of money, but it would be money well spent.  Says Chief Jeffrey Blackwell, "if we're talking this time next year looking back I would hope that violent crime, specifically as Mr. Smitherman talks, specifically of homicides and the inexcusibility of homicides in our community, I hope  the homicide level is lower than it normally is. I hope violent crime and shootings, which were up significantly in cincinnati in 2013, I hope that level is lower. I hope we can start the beginnings of long term change."

Mayor Cranley says "I'm asking the citizens, to be impatient for results as I am impatient, but also know it's going to take a while to get through this and to be patient with our police department which is already overstretched and too thin, and keep demanding that we the elected officials provide them with resources and support they need, to turn this around."

The overtime and lateral transfers are expected to cost $1 million and it's already in the budget. The recruit class would cost $5 million and the city already has a projected $18.5 million budget deficit. Other cuts will likely have to be made.



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