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Reducing Homicides in Cincinnati
CINCINNATI (Deb Dixon) -- Mayor John Cranley told the people of Cincinnati that, "help is on the way" when it comes to public safety.
He stood with Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell, other top police brass, the President of UC and community leaders to announce a strategy he hopes will reduce homicides.
The Initiative calls for using savings in the Police Department to pay for overtime for hot spots, or segments of streets that attract trouble. Last year 23 segments in different neighborhoods accounted for 16 percent of the homicides.
Cranley and the Chief talked about the importance of a 60 person recruit class. There hasn't been one since 2008. Sworn staffing levels are at a 17 year low now. But a recruit class will cost five million dollars.
The plan also includes a gang unit, recruiting 20 officers from other departments to get cops on the street now. Bringing back the program that worked here in Cincinnati, but was allowed to fade away.
CIRV, or Cincinnati's Initiative to Reduce Violence, offered gang members help to change their lives and get off the streets. But that came with a promise of arrest if the gang life continued. Most of last year's homicides were gang-related.
Cities that copied CIRV, such as Chicago, saw fewer homicides last year. There was a 20 percent drop in Chicago, while Cincinnati saw a 40 percent increase.
Cranley says nothing in the budget is more important than safety. UC President Santa Ono says UC's budget is bigger than the city's and the University wants to help with the initiative to keep citizens of Cincinnati and students at UC safe.