While most crimes in Cincinnati are down, homicide reached a record high in 2020 while shootings spiked. The numbers, police say, correspond with a national trend of increased deadly crime last year.
Cincinnati Police Colonel Mike John says there were 486 shootings last year, up 130 from 2019. Eighty-four of them resulted in homicide. That's the highest number of shootings in more than 10 years, which contributed to a record 94 homicides in the city in 2020.
The increase follows 2018 and 2019, both of which saw the lowest numbers for gun violence in the city.
"There's no hiding it. That's the peak in these years here," he said, referencing the previous eight years.
However, he said Cincinnati's is not alone when it comes to a particularly deadly 2020. He says the Major Cities Chiefs Association reached out to 69 big cities in the country and 67 of them saw similar dramatic increases. Across those major cities, homicide is up by roughly 28.7%.
But CPD Colonel Lisa Davis said despite the high number of homicides, local police are solving them at a slightly better rate than in the rest of the country.
"The closure rate, though, for our homicides is 67 percent," she said. "And a point of interest, I think, nationwide (it) is about 61 percent. So we're doing very well as far as the closure rate for these homicides."
The neighborhoods with the most homicides, she said, are Avondale, Westwood and the West End.
Richard Rosenfeld, a criminologist at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, told NPR the increase in crime is likely related to the economic and mental health stresses brought on by the pandemic.