Cincinnati believes it cut homicides from 83 in 2006 to 63 this year with a combination of basic police work and innovative efforts to promote civil behavior, says the Baltimore Sun. “There’s relatively little city officials can do about the basic conditions that generate violent crime, such as homicide,” says Richard Rosenfeld, a criminology professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. “But there are some things that can make a difference.”
Among tacks tried by various cities: Boston updated its Crime Stoppers hot line by allowing tipsters to send anonymous text messages from their cell phones. Chicago and other cities have mounted video surveillance cameras. Cincinnati put some of its beat cops on Segway electronic scooters. Beyond policing, communities like Cincinnati are also turning to “intervention,” meaning programs to curb gang-related violence. Boston pioneered this approach, which has been the model for up to 60 cities across the country. Chicago’s intervention effort, known as CeaseFire, also serves as a model for other cities. Run by the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, the program relies on former gang members and other “interrupters” to defuse minor tensions between individuals and groups before they escalate into violence.