Wednesday, August 22, 2001

Cities to share notes on crime


Oakland, Cincinnati officials plan huddle over stemming violence

By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Officials from Oakland plan to visit Cincinnati next month to exchange ideas on curbing violence.

        The California city is suffering an upswing in homicides after years of decreases, with 59 homicides so far in 2001, which puts the city on pace to surpass last year's 85.

        Oakland officials want to talk to their Cincinnati counterparts about the work of Cincinnati's Violent Crimes Task Force, which marks four weeks in the field today.

        Cincinnati's homicide number is lower — 35 so far this year, but it's on pace to surpass last year's 40. As in Oakland, most of the killings have been shootings.

        “We're trying to get a handle on these crazy shooters that we have,” said Oakland City Councilman Laurence Reid. “Our police chief said, "Look, I'd like to go talk to the people in Cincinnati.'

        “There's just an incredible level of death here, particularly among young African-Americans.”

        The visit also will be a homecoming for Mr. Reid, a native Cincinnatian who still has family here and was a Cincinnati council aide to Arn Bortz.

        He is “like family” with former Mayor Dwight Tillery and Councilwoman Alicia Reece, he said, and is considering returning to the city at the end of his current term in 3 1/2 years to run for mayor here.

        The Oakland officials — Mr. Reid, Police Chief Richard Word, City Manager Robert Bobb and an assistant city manager — also plan to talk about what the city did to combat violence in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

        Among those efforts: economic development projects; a joint program with probation and parole authorities to monitor and try to prevent relapses in repeat offenders; and hiring more officers, recently bringing the department back up to about 750. Cincinnati, by comparison, has 1,020 officers.

        Cincinnati's task force has made more than 500 arrests since it began work July 25. Chief Tom Streicher formed it to combat persistent violence, mostly in Over-the-Rhine, since the Aprilriots.

       



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