Statistics Refute Streicher’s Claim
It’s official: National statistics are bearing out what many residents have been saying for more than a year, that Cincinnati’s homicide rate is increasing at an unusually fast rate.
According to statistics released Monday, Cincinnati ranks 15th highest in homicides on a list of 254 large U.S. cities. The survey includes metropolitan regions with populations of 100,000 or more. In terms of population, Cincinnati is the 56th largest city in the nation.
The FBI’s statistics count a 15-county region as Cincinnati’s Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city accounts for 69 percent of the region’s homicides, while only having 15 percent of its population.
Although the city’s overall crime rate has declined, homicides and violent crimes have increased dramatically. So far this year, Cincinnati has 62 homicides, on pace to surpass the 79 homicides reported in 2005. The city’s all-time homicide record was set in 1971, with 81 killings.
For the past two weeks, Police Chief Thomas Streicher Jr. has received much criticism after he discussed Cincinnati’s crime rate at a Sept. 5 press conference. At the event, Streicher described Cincinnati as one of the safest cities in the nation. Many residents said the chief’s remarks indicate he doesn’t recognize the scope of the city’s crime problem.
Streicher has claimed his remarks were taken out of context and unfairly reported by the media. Decide for yourself. Included here is a link to an audio file of the nearly 54-minute press conference, and you can listen to Streicher’s verbatim comments, along with those of Mayor Mark Mallory and other city officials.
Highlights from the audio file include:
13:56 – Chief calls Midwest the safest region in nation.
14:07 – Chief calls Cincinnati one of the safest cities in the nation.
27:07 – Chris Bortz says the city “hasn’t had an economic growth plan in years.”
27:40 – Question and answer session begins.
36:00 – Chief says other cities “kind of laugh at us” when residents complain about crime rate.
40:00 – Chief complains about media coverage.
42:00 – Chief talks about “crimes of opportunity.”
45:00 – Chief says: “We don’t guarantee anyone’s safety.”
47:00 – Perceptions about downtown crime.
48:46 – Complaints about how media treat police.
49:40 – Crime: Perception or reality?
50:02 – Jeff Berding talks about crime in Indianapolis.
51:09 – Chief talks about crime in Charlotte, N.C.
Money quote: “When is Cincinnati going to get a better image?” Streicher asks. “When the media says so.”
— Kevin Osborne