CINCINNATI (WKRC) - In 2018, gun violence in Cincinnati was at the lowest it's been in a decade. Despite a recent spike in murders, the city's police chief said the numbers are still lower than they have been in years.
Chief Eliot Issac spoke at Cincinnati City Hall on Monday to break down the crime statistics. So far in 2019, there have been 147 shootings and 22 have been fatal. Despite this, shootings are still down six percent from this time in 2018 and 15 percent over a three-year average.
For a local mother, the numbers are encouraging but still disturbing. For Tonia Mason, time does not heal all wounds. Mason is still deeply hurt 11 years later after her son was killed.
"He was very excited about becoming a dad," Mason said. "On the day he was murdered, him and his girlfriend were going to see what they were having."
Mason still remembers the feeling when she got a call from a Cincinnati police detective two years after her son, James, was murdered.
"I was screaming and my husband thought something was wrong and I was like, no. Finally, an arrest has been made," Mason said.
Police call the number of murder arrests the homicide “closure rate." It was one of several subjects covered at the law and public safety meeting at City Hall.
Chief Isaac said, “We are very effective at closing the majority of our homicides. We typically have her around 65 percent or better.”
That number is higher than the national average. Over the past three and a half weeks, 11 people have been gunned down in the city. Within days, officers have arrested suspects in those cases, including Rodney Etter. Etter is accused of murdering Bernard Bell last Thursday.
“Anytime anyone is injured by gunfire and certainly a loss of life, that is a critical situation, but I also want people to realize that when we look at what’s been happening over the long-term, we have had some reductions," the chief said.
For Mason, the overall drop in shootings is a positive, but it still hurts every time there is another murder.
Mason said, “Because it’s like you’re living it all over again when you are seeing them and it’s like, I know their pain. I know their pain.”
Some cities will count a homicide closure even if officers only believe they know who did it. The CPD uses what is called a “true closure rate." That means officers do not count a homicide case as “solved” until there is an arrest or the offender has died.
The chief also talked about tools that have helped curb some of the violence like Shotspotter. That technology alerts police to go on fire even if no one reports it.