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What is true in most cities is also true in Cincinnati: Crime is not random. There are geographic areas where crimes tend to cluster. The Cincinnati Police Department (CPD) found that 23 geographically small areas, each spanning approximately two square blocks, make up only 1.4 percent of the city’s land mass but account for 42.6 percent of all shooting victims (Place-Based Investigations to Disrupt Crime Place Networks, The Police Chief, Vol. LXXXIV, No. 4, pages 14-15, 2017 ). But how can communities and police officers effectively retake and remake these places into thriving parts of the community?
Project Summary :
Cincinnati Police Department’s Place-Based Investigations of Violent Offender Territories (PIVOT) program uses data to systematically dismantle criminal networks and eliminate safe havens for criminal activity. PIVOT empowers residents to reclaim their streets through confidential informants, visibility, and place-making.
PIVOT met the objectives of identifying, investigating, and eradicating violent crime on two specific crime-ridden intersections. One of Cincinnati’s most violent crime sites was an apartment building with a gang-led, open-air drug market. Gang members would meet regularly in a corner market and at a nearby community landmark. Nearby blighted houses were used for staging locations and an adjacent strip mall contained businesses suspected of laundering money. Through PIVOT, CPD developed mechanisms to systemically collect intelligence from community members, service agencies, key stakeholders, and patrol officers, and then worked cooperatively across City departments to eliminate these safe havens for criminal activity through code enforcement.
Because of the PIVOT program, residents were already engaged and able to quickly mobilize for the 90-day NEP blitz in Westwood and East Westwood. Side-by-side with Police and community agencies, residents repaired and fixed properties, built multiple playgrounds, established several community gardens, and converted the one-time hub of dangerous activity into a fresh foods and clothing co-op.
While focusing on criminal hot spots within East Westwood and the Westwood communities, a unique partnership formed through civic engagement. These two neighborhoods that had historically been splintered were brought together through clean-ups and beautification projects. By mobilizing residents to take back their communities, CPD through PIVOT, had the support it needed to locate and disrupt crime.
Because of the PIVOT program, residents were already engaged and able to quickly mobilize for the 90-day NEP blitz in Westwood and East Westwood. Side-by-side with police and community agencies, residents repaired and fixed properties, built multiple playgrounds, established several community gardens, and converted the one-time hub of dangerous activity into a fresh foods and clothing co-op.
Since the program’s completion, these neighborhoods continue to see the lowest levels of violence in five years and a 75% reduction in violent crime. Specifically, East Westwood has experienced an 83% reduction in crime and Westwood a 49% reduction in crime. Other results include replacement of 78 signs during Public Services Blitz in early May; 8% decrease in blight during the NEP; two new playgrounds; creation of a walking trail at Hawkins Field; as well as sidewalk and street repairs.
One corner which was a major hotspot for violence was eventually turned into the Jubilee Market. The store features fresh, locally grown produce and affordable clothing items and is a direct result of the first-ever combination of PIVOT (Place Based Investigations of Violent Offender Territories) and the Neighborhood Enhancement Program (NEP)” Residents who cannot afford goods at the store can volunteer around the neighborhood or help with the Jubilee farms (growing the very food sold in the store).
This work earned the CPD the 2017 Herman Goldstein Award for Excellence in Problem-Oriented Policing and has been captured in the documentary, “The PivotPoint,” produced by 24-time Emmy-winning filmmaker, Zo Wesson.
New Jubilee Market
Violence Scoring Data
The Pivot Point Documentary
Cincinnati Police Department