Apr 23, 2024 - News

Cleveland sees big drop in homicides

Change in year-to-date reported homicides in selected major U.S. cities, 2023 to 2024
Data: AH Datalytics; Chart: Axios Visuals

Homicides in Cleveland are down 43% in 2024 compared with the same period last year, accelerating a downward trend that began after homicides reached a high-water mark in 2020.

The big picture: The local decline is aligned with the rest of the U.S., which is on track to see one of the lowest levels of violent crime since President Obama was in office.

  • Homicides declined by 20% on average across 214 cities during the first three months of 2024, according to AH Datalytics, a criminal justice consulting firm.

By the numbers: Cleveland homicides surged during the pandemic, with a record 192 in 2020 and slight dips in each year since — 171 in 2021; 168 in 2022; 165 in 2023.

  • So far in 2024, there have been 29 homicides.

What they're saying: Mayor Justin Bibb, who since taking office in 2022 has repeatedly said he prioritizes public safety, has touted the success of his RISE Initiative, which provides new financial incentives to Cleveland police recruits.

  • In a statement provided to Axios, Bibb also said the Safe Smart CLE initiative, which began as a pilot to register private security cameras to aid in police investigations and improve response time, has led to a 1,300% increase in private cameras registered with the city.
  • "While we're fully aware that crime trends ebb and flow," Bibb said, "we are encouraged by these recent stats and hope to carry this momentum into the summer months."

Flashback: After a shooting in the Warehouse District last summer, Bibb and city council butted heads over what the council perceived as Bibb's insufficient response to a summer crime wave.

  • Homicides at that time were roughly on pace with the previous two years.

Zoom out: Polls show crime is a top concern ahead of the 2024 election — and it's an issue where Republicans regularly edge Democrats.

Yes, but: Falling homicide rates could take the steam out of the crucial GOP advantage.

  • An Axios-Ipsos Latino Poll conducted in partnership with Noticias Telemundo and released this month found that Republicans had only a 4-point edge on which party is better at dealing with crime.
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