A new Cincinnati program, Out of the Crossfire, is aimed at freeing people from the cycle of urban violence. That program or the more visible protest against gun violence by Ceasefire Cincinnati, which stages marches within 72 hours of some shootings, may be contributing to a crime decline, says the Cincinnati Enquirer. The number of gunshot victims arriving at two major trauma units is down; violent crime is down 15.3 percent in the first four months of 2007. As of yesterday, 28 homicides have been recorded, compared with 37 a year ago. If historic crime patterns stay on track, the city will finish the year with 62 homicides – 27 fewer than last year when the city broke all modern homicide records with 89.
Mayor Mark Mallory said: “Quite frankly, we have a more vigilant community. People have responded.” It’s too early to say whether the trend will continue. “There is still a lot of violence,” said Sgt. Bob Liston of the city’s homicide unit. “The difference between an aggravated assault and a homicide is inches.” The mayor hopes that when the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence gears up, it will help keep the homicide numbers down. The plan, developed by David Kennedy of John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, calls for gathering known criminals in meetings with everyone from their parole officers to neighbors, ex-convicts, and their grandmothers. Organizers hope to start in July the face-to-face meetings, where the criminals in groups known to be violent will be told that they need to stop the killings for the sake of their communities.