Cincinnati Police Chief James Craig told the City Council that if it is serious about reducing violent crime, and particularly black-on-black violence, the city should invest in youth programs and re-entry programs that help ex-offenders get and keep jobs. “And not just putting up a basketball hoop,” Craig said during a special session called by members Christopher Smitherman and Charles Winburn, reports the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Winburn and Smitherman called the meeting after Smitherman and council member Cecil Thomas, who chairs the Public Safety Committee, exchanged emails about the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV). Craig said violent crime in the city was down 11 percent in 2011 compared with 2010. There has been a 6 percent reduction in violent crime and 24 percent decline in homicides so far this year compared to 2011. Thomas wants to restore $548,000 in city funding to CIRV that was cut during a 2010 budget crisis. The program has several components, including multi-agency law enforcement collaboration, community intervention with criminals and gang members, and access to social services through street outreach workers – all of them ex-offenders.