Cincinnati Hits Homicide Record; 90% Drug-Related


With 86 homicides in 2006, the year was Cincinnati’s deadliest since police began keeping consistent records in 1950, says the Cincinnati Enquirer. The record number of homicides follows the recent blueprint for violent deaths – drugs, weapons, and broken families. “Ninety percent of all homicides are drug-related,” said Hamilton County Coroner O’dell Owens. “When you peel the onion back, even self-defense violence is because of drugs.” Drugs, guns, and bloodshed have long plagued large cities like Cincinnati, Owens said, but whatever happens in the inner city eventually seeps into the suburbs. More urgent, Owens added, is how violence has claimed the city’s women and trickled its way down to the younger generation. Owens said. “We’re also seeing more females involved. They’re not just standing by anymore. They want to get involved and make the money.”

“The victims are getting younger because they’re in survival mode and they’re forced to abandon social skills and education to survive,” said Abdul Bilal of Gat Ya Back, a community group. “How in the world do you predict when someone’s going to kill?” asked James Whalen of the Cincinnati Police Department. “The whole concept of reducing homicides is an approach different than any other crime.” Cincinnati police are adding crime analysts to break down homicides into categories. Analysts will pore over data from the past five years to determine the trends and reasons behind the violence. “I think it’s a copout to say, ‘Gee, we can’t predict homicides, so we can’t do anything about it,’ ” Whalen said. “We’re not just going to look at how Joe killed Fred, but is it a domestic violence? Gang-related? You go after the root because you can’t get the tip of it.”


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