by German Lopez
78 days ago
City to add more cops, evolution “debate” today, Winburn considers State Senate race
Mayor John Cranley, Chief Jeffrey Blackwell and other city
officials yesterday announced a police plan to put more cops on the
streets, focus on “hot spots” of crime, restart the gang unit and reach
out to youth. Blackwell acknowledged more cops alone won’t solve or
prevent the city’s heightened levels of violent crimes and homicides,
but he said changing the level of enforcement through new tactics, such
as hot spot policing, could help. A lot of research supports hot spot
policing, although the practice can sometimes backfire, as “stop and
frisk” did in New York City, if it targets minorities.Bill Nye the Science Guy today will debate Creation Museum
owner Ken Ham. The debate will focus on evolution, which is
overwhelmingly supported by science, and biblical creationism, which has
no scientific evidence to support it. The debate will be streamed live
here.Republican Councilman Charlie Winburn is considering a run
for the Ohio Senate. Winburn would run in the heavily Democratic 9th
Senate District. So far, there are two likely Democratic opponents:
former Councilman Cecil Thomas and State Rep. Dale Mallory. The seat is
open because State Sen. Eric Kearney, the Democratic incumbent, is term
limited.Republican Hamilton County Commissioner Chris Monzel might
get two Democratic opponents in this year’s election: Sean Feeney, a
North College Hill resident who already filed, and potentially Paul
Komerak, a member of the Hamilton County Democratic Party’s executive
committee. If both Komerak and Feeney run, they could face off in a
Democratic primary.City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee unanimously
approved tax credits for Tom + Chee to entice the grilled cheese and
tomato soup chain to keep its headquarters downtown as it expands
nationally. Councilman Kevin Flynn questioned whether tax breaks
should be given so leniently, but other council members argued the tax
deals keep jobs in the city.City Council might structurally balance the budget and fix the underfunded pension system to stabilize Cincinnati’s bond rating.The Ohio Senate is still mulling over ways to repeal Ohio’s renewable energy and efficiency standards. CityBeat covered the standards in greater detail here and here.Democratic attorney general candidate David Pepper wants
to reform how the state picks outside law firms to avoid appearances of
pay-to-play that have mired Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine. A
previous Dayton Daily News investigation found firms lobbying for state assignments contributed $1.3 million to DeWine’s campaign.Attorneys for the Ohio inmate next scheduled for execution
asked for a stay to avoid a “lingering death” similar to the 26-minute,
seemingly painful execution of Dennis McGuire. CityBeat covered McGuire’s execution and the concerns it raised in further detail here.Enrollment in Ohio’s public colleges and universities dropped by 2 percent in the latest fall semester.Ohio gas prices ticked up at the start of the week, but the lowest average was in Cincinnati.Scientists claim space-grown vegetables are safe to eat.Follow CityBeat on Twitter:• Main: @CityBeatCincy • News: @CityBeat_News • Music: @CityBeatMusic • German Lopez: @germanrlopezGot any news tips? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
by German Lopez
79 days ago
Posted In: News
at 10:17 AM | Permalink
Proposal shifts enforcement to overtime, hot spots and youth outreach
City officials on Monday announced a new public safety
initiative that promises to put more cops on the streets, focus on “hot
spots” of crime, restart the gang unit and do more to reach out to
The comprehensive plan comes after a rough start to the
year, with homicides and violent crime ticking up even as the weather
Among other initiatives, the plan will add more cops on
the ground through new hires, more overtime and a new recruit class — the first since 2008.
“The message to people is that help is on the way,” Mayor John Cranley said.
The plan will come at higher costs to an already-strained
operating budget. Cranley said the Cincinnati Police Department set
aside nearly $1 million for the proposal through June, while the remaining $5.6 million should be
funded in the city’s $370-plus million operating budget.
When asked whether initiatives like the one announced Monday will hurt the budget, Cranley reiterated his long-standing
position that public safety takes top priority in the city budget.
Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell said the refocus
intends to prevent, not just solve, crimes. He acknowledged more cops alone
won’t end the city’s crime problem, but he argued increasing the level of evidence-based enforcement
— through new tactics supported by more cops on the streets — could
make a difference.
Cranley and Blackwell cautioned the results might not be
immediate, but they said it’s an important step to stop levels of crime
local residents are clearly unhappy with.
Hot spot policing carries a high level of
empirical support. In two different studies from Rutgers and the
Ministry of Justice in the Netherlands, researchers argued the strategy
doesn’t always displace crime; it can also prevent crime by deterring
and discouraging future incidents in hot spots and surrounding areas —
what researchers call a “diffusion” of benefits.But the concept also needs to be executed carefully. In
New York City, “stop and frisk” became a fairly unpopular type of hot
spot policing after some reports found the strategy targeted racial
makeups in neighborhoods more than levels of crime.Of course, better policing isn’t the only way to combat
crime. As two examples, lead abatement and ending the war on drugs could
prevent violence by reducing aggression and eliminating a huge source
of income for drug cartels.This story was updated to include more information from the city manager’s memo.
by German Lopez
107 days ago
Posted In: News
at 12:28 PM | Permalink
Gang-related activity driving increase in violence, according to police
Heads of the Cincinnati Police Department testified in
front of City Council’s Law and Public Safety Committee Monday to
address the local increase in homicides.
The city’s homicide rate hit 25 per 100,000 residents in 2013, compared to the U.S. rate of 4.7 per 100,000 in 2012, following a spike in homicides in
Over-the-Rhine, downtown and the west side of Cincinnati, according to
“The concern has been the sheer number of homicides we
experienced in 2013 and the number of juvenile victims we had this
year,” said Assistant Chief Dave Bailey.
Councilman Christopher Smitherman also highlighted the
high levels of black-on-black crime, which Chief Jeffrey Blackwell
agreed are unacceptable across the country.
“My fear is that my son, who’s African-American … is
going to be killed by another African-American,” Smitherman said.
“That’s what those stats are saying.”
The key driver of the increases, according to police, is
gang-related activity, particularly activity involving the Mexican drug cartel that
controls the heroin trade.
“If our theory is correct, most of these homicides involve narcotic sales, respect and retaliation,” Bailey said.
Chief Blackwell explained the increase in homicides
appears to be particularly related to disruptions in criminal organizations and their
“Criminal territories have been disrupted, and we’ve seen
an increase in turf wars and neighborhood situations between young
people,” he said. “Most of the homicides are personal crimes between two
known victims. Very rarely are they random in nature.”
Councilman Kevin Flynn asked what council could do to help remedy the situation.
“We are significantly short of police officers, so we
desperately need a recruit class,” Blackwell responded. “We need to
improve our technology platform here in the police department.”
Blackwell cautioned that there’s not a direct correlation
between more police officers and less homicides, but he said another
recruit class could help the city meet basic needs.Flynn claimed council is very willing to meet those needs, given the importance of public safety to the city’s prosperity. “If we’re not safe and we don’t have the perception that
we’re a safe city, none of the rest of the great things we do as a city
are going to help,” he said.How council meets those needs while dealing with fiscal concerns remains to be seen, considering Mayor John Cranley and a majority of council members ran on the promise of structurally balancing the city’s operating budget for the first time in more than a decade. City officials have vowed to avoid raising taxes and cutting basic services, which makes the task of balancing the budget all the more difficult. Advancing promises of more spending for the police department further complicates the issue, even if it’s politically advantageous in a city seriously concerned about public safety.Cincinnati Police will hold several town hall meetings in
the next week to hear concerns from citizens. The meetings will span
across all local districts:• District 2: Jan. 7, Medpace, Inc., 5375 Medpace Way.• District 3: Jan. 8, Elder HS Schaeper Center, 3900 Vincent.• District 1 and Central Business District: Jan. 9, River of Life Church, 2000 Central Parkway.• District 5: Jan. 13, Little Flower Church, 5560 Kirby Ave..• District 4: Jan. 14, Church of the Resurrection, 1619 California Ave.Correction: The local homicide rate for 2013 was 25 per 100,000 residents, contrary to the 15.5 per 100,000 rate cited by police officials to City Council.
2 Comments · Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Generalizing to make a point, barring
slave revolts, domestic violence and deadly gun play during drug deals
gone wrong, blacks, historically, haven’t been much for mass public
shooting sprees or for violently acting out in public to instigate what
can only be called “death by cop.”
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Sixteen months ago in a gated Sanford,
Fla., community patrolled by a zealous, jittery and armed volunteer
neighborhood watchman who felt threatened by the mere presence of an
“unfamiliar” black kid walking alone, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin died on a sidewalk of a single
gunshot to the chest.
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 5, 2013
In an effort to
differentiate himself from his Democratic opponents, Libertarian mayoral
candidate Jim Berns plans to hand out free marijuana plants at a
campaign event. CINCINNATI -1
1 Comment · Wednesday, April 17, 2013
On April 15, Cincinnatians focused their
attention on a nearly 400-year-old city 800 miles from us because, in
the grand scheme of things, that’s really not so far away. We watched, listened
and talked about what happened to hundreds of people at the finish line
of the world’s most famous marathon.
5 Comments · Wednesday, March 6, 2013
LaSalle High School is in denial about its drug problem. Anytime students stupidly decide to
trick an armed drug dealer with counterfeit money, all kinds of
socioeconomic and chemical problems are in play beyond the pranksterism
and tomfoolery of bored white teenage boys.
1 Comment · Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Every single time Carol and Clyde or Rob
and Cammy blankly read the teleprompter, telling us of yet another
black-on-black murder, then move to the weather or traffic, I sit
quietly devastated. I am not ashamed to tell you that sometimes I cry.
8 Comments · Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Though Norwood is merely five miles north
of downtown’s city center, it may as well be smack dab in another time
and another place with its barely-there lane lines, its
shameful-but-glaring classism and racism for a city its size and its
perpetually broke and broke-down demeanor.