Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Cops chided on homicides

Reece calling for 'new ideas' to fight crime

By Kevin Aldridge
Enquirer staff writer

DOWNTOWN - Cincinnati City Council and police are in agreement that the city's escalating number of homicides is unacceptable. What they can't agree on is what to do about it.

The prevailing question at a contentious session of council's law and public safety committee on Tuesday was what new plan do the police have to decrease the number of homicides?

The police department's reply: There is no new plan.

That answer didn't sit well with some council members, particularly Vice Mayor Alicia Reece, who suggested the city reinstitute its anti-gang unit and establish a homicide task force. Reece said many residents don't feel the crime problem is moving in a positive direction and need to be reassured that police are thinking "outside of the box."

"Where are the new ideas?" Reece said. "I haven't seen any new ideas since the unrest of April 2001, when we started the Violent Crimes Task Force."

Police Lt. Col. Richard Janke said the department's current methods of crime fighting are producing results. Janke said serious crimes such as rape, robbery, aggravated assault, auto theft and burglary have dropped while arrests have increased.

The assistant chief said homicides are a difficult crime to prevent because of their unpredictable nature.

"We don't understand (homicides) as a community, as a nation, as a world, as humans," Janke said. "To tell you I have a plan to stop homicides, that wouldn't be truthful."

Reece argued that creating two centralized police teams to focus on the problem of gangs and homicides could help curb the problem. The law committee voted down the proposal, but it will be decided today by council.


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