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Cincinnati crime is at a 10-year low, even after tying the record for homicides last year

Although violent crime went up slightly at the start of the pandemic, crime overall is at a 10-year low in Cincinnati.
Cincinnati Police Department
Although violent crime went up slightly at the start of the pandemic, crime overall is at a 10-year low in Cincinnati.

Crime in Cincinnati is at a 10-year low, according to new data from the police department.

Lieutenant Colonel Mike John says both violent and property crimes are down nearly 10% compared to last year.

"If you just look to where we were in 2012, the number of reported Part 1 (or violent and property) crimes: close to 22,000," John told a City Council committee Tuesday. "We have reduced that by almost 10,000 offenses."

Only two categories of crime are up at least 10% compared to the five-year average: aggravated assault and auto theft. All other crimes are down, including burglary, robbery and rape.

Percent change in crime by category, compared to the previous five-year average:

  • All violent crime: down 16%
    • Aggravated assault: up 10%
    • Robbery: down 34%
    • Rape: down 22%
  • All property crime: down 24%
    • Burglary/breaking and entering: down 40%
    • Auto theft: up 11%
    • Personal/other theft: down 31%
    • Theft from auto: down 9%

The number of shootings last year is up nearly 11% compared to the pre-pandemic three-year average. Police Chief Eliot Isaac says across the country, violent crime went up at the start of the pandemic.

"I think when people look at 2020, and 2021, the social scientists will have a lot of work to do to really determine what the impact of this pandemic truly has been on so many facets of our way of life," Isaac said.

Although the number of shootings went down last year compared to 2020, Cincinnati had 94 homicides, tying the record set in 2020. Of those, 84 involved a gun.

Isaac says that number is far too high, but the department set a different gun-related record last year: the number of illegal guns removed from the streets.

"Over 1,500 firearms recovered in 2021," Isaac said. "That is more than any other any other year on record."

Cincinnati's homicide victims last year ranged in age from one day to 80 years old. Fifty children in Cincinnati were victims of a shooting in 2021, and 14 died. The victims were disproportionately Black (87%) and male (84%).

John says homicides are often the result of a sudden or ongoing dispute, or retaliation.

"Unfortunately, we have 15 juveniles that were identified as being held responsible for a homicide in the city of Cincinnati in 2021," John said. "That represents almost 20% of our suspects."

John says each homicide victim represents a family and community impacted.

"It's been very close to home in 2021," he said. "We've had police officers lose family members, we've had high ranking city administrators lose family members. So it is very impactful."

John says 65% of last year's homicide cases are closed, compared to 69% in 2020. That includes when a suspect is arrested, the offender is deceased, prosecution was declined, or a suspect is awaiting Grand Jury presentation.

See below for more Cincinnati crime data:

Local Government Reporter with a particular focus on Cincinnati; experienced journalist in public radio and television throughout the Midwest. Enthusiastic about: civic engagement, public libraries, and urban planning.