Cincinnati police are making home visits to people they believe are leaders of gangs involved in shootings as they look for new ideas to combat violence, says the Cincinnati Enquirer. The visits started in August because the pace of killings increased in July and the summer session of the city’s anti-crime effort didn’t work.The Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence – viewed as the city’s most innovative effort to combat crime in years – involves local, state and federal authorities calling in people on probation and parole, showing them pictures of people they know who’ve been arrested, and promising them they could be next if they don’t stop and encourage their associates to stop.
The program enjoyed early accolades as violence in Cincinnati appeared to decline. Prior sessions – there have been seven since the first in July 2007 – went over well, Chief Tom Streicher says. He cites moving pleas from mothers of homicide victims as helpful and says he has watched as big-time felons break down in tears. What went wrong this summer, the chief and University of Cincinnati criminal justice professor Robin Engel say, is that the session was too big – more than 100 probationers and parolees, double the usual number. Also, authorities tried to emphasize the possibility of federal charges by showing pictures of people arrested across the country. Police learned that the pictures have to be local to resonate. Now, the city’s homicide tally stands at 61 compared with 69 for all of last year, a number down from 89 in 2006.