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Fighting Crime With More Cincinnati Police

CINCINNATI (Jeff Hirsh) -- More cops on the streets and other new revitalized anti-crime programs.

That announcement was made Monday by Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell and endorsed by Mayor John Cranley.  Homicides in the city are up nearly 40 percent so far this year versus the same time last year.  The police department's sworn strength, 954, has not been this small since Bill Clinton was in the White House.  So the census here is more needs to be done.  But what about the dollars and cents here?

"I plan to be very hard on crime, period.  The only people that have to worry about this conversation are the criminals."

Tough talk from City Council's law committee.  With homicides rising and the police department at its lowest size in 17 years, Chief Jeffrey Blackwell presented a six point plan to reduce crime. 

1. Using overtime dollars to target crime hot spots
2. Hiring experienced officers from other communities
3. Adding a 60 member recruit class
4. Reconstituting the neighborhood CIRV program
5. Deploying a gang unit
6. Adding youth programs

"I suggest we would be irresponsible not to do some of the things I'm suggesting, and not simply go back to the 1970's style of policing where all we did was listen to the radio and respond to 911 calls."

For politicians, it's easy to say let's add cops.  But, as was once said in the movies, there's an issue...

"Show me the money."

Using overtime to target hot spots is about 600,000 dollars.

"Show me the money."

"I think overtime will have to be consistently used in the coming months and not just for this summer, the next six to nine months.  But I think overtime will have to continue to be at our disposal for the long term."

And then there's the recruit class.

"Show me the money."

The recruit class is five million dollars.  The city already faces and 18.5 million dollar deficit.  More cops.  Bigger deficit.  Or, painful cuts in other agencies.

"What I would say to you is the same challenge I gave to Chief Craig.  If we can do it for less, if we can do it for less.  Because the reality at this point is cuts to another department, other employees, and if we can do it for less we should try."

"We're not going to do more with less because the criminals need to know we're coming after you."

That's easy to say, but not so easy to pay for... "Show me the money."

Mayor John Cranley says the money for public safety will be there, even if it means cuts elsewhere.  He said that's what the council elected in November campaigned on, police and fire first.  Everything else second.

Meantime, the UC President Santa Ono said the University will help out.  UC's budget is  bigger than the city's and he said the University will be announcing additional patrols soon.

Councilman Charlie Winburn says he has a way the city can save money.  Winburn wants to check out moving the Police Criminal Investigations unit from the Board of Elections building downtown to Mercy Mt. Airy Hospital site when the new coroner's lab is built there.  Winburn says such a move could save the city 200,000 dollars a year in rent.




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