These Cities in Ohio Rank Highly Nationally for Increases in Homicide Rates


A recent research reviewing crime data across the United States identified seven Ohio cities with significant spikes in homicide rates. The report sheds light on the worrying pattern of increased violent crime in these communities, providing a clear picture of the issues that people and law enforcement organizations face.

Alarming Trends in Ohio Cities

The data indicates a frightening reality for Ohioans, particularly those living in Cleveland, Canton, Dayton, Portsmouth, and elsewhere. These urban areas have seen an increase in violent crime, with homicide rates reaching worrisome levels.

For example, Cleveland, Ohio’s most dangerous city, has a high rate of homicides, robberies, and assaults, making it a hotspot for violent crime. Similarly, places such as Canton and Dayton have experienced a considerable increase in violent occurrences, indicating a larger pattern of growing criminal activity.

What is the Current Homicide Rate in Ohio Cities?

The current homicide rate in Ohio cities varies, but Cleveland has one of the highest murder rates in the country. In 2020, Cleveland had 42.2 murders per 100,000 people, far exceeding the national average of 6.5 murders per 100,000. Furthermore, places such as Dayton, Portsmouth, and Canton have seen high crime rates, with Portsmouth having a crime rate of 5,360 per 100,000 population, which is 128% higher than the national average.

How Has the Homicide Rate in Ohio Cities Changed Over the Last Decade?

Over the previous decade, the homicide rate in Ohio cities has fluctuated and increased. Ohio’s homicide rate per 100,000 population increased by 40% between 2019 and 2020, the largest increase in 35 years. Cities such as Cleveland reported 42.2 murders per 100,000 inhabitants in 2020, which is much higher than the national average of 6.5 murders per 100,000.

Furthermore, Columbus has experienced an increase in homicides, surpassing Chicago’s homicide rate over the last two years. These figures show a troubling increase in violent crime and homicide rates in several Ohio cities in recent years.

Which Ohio City Has Seen the Biggest Increase in Homicide Rates Over the Past Decade

Cleveland, Ohio, has had the highest increase in homicide rates over the last decade. In 2020, Cleveland had 42.2 murders per 100,000 people, much higher than the national average of 6.5 murders per 100,000. This spike in killings is a significant increase in violent crime in the city, underscoring a troubling pattern over the last decade.

What Are the Factors That Contribute to the Increase in Homicide Rates in Ohio Cities?

The rise in homicide rates in Ohio cities can be traced to several variables, as emphasized in the provided sources:

  • Existing High Rates of Violent Crime: Ohio cities such as Cleveland, Akron, and Cincinnati had struggled with violent crime even before the recent rise. The already high rates of violent crime have led to the general rise in homicide rates.
  • Pandemic Impact: The COVID-19 pandemic has compounded Ohio communities’ issues, particularly Cleveland. Rachel Lovell of Cleveland State University’s Criminology Research Center noted how the epidemic exacerbated the city’s already severe violent crime problem.
  • Ohio’s comparatively lax gun regulations have made firearms more widely accessible, increasing the lethal consequences of violent crime. Firearms are the leading cause of violent death in Ohio, with suicides accounting for more than half and homicides accounting for one-third.
  • Law Enforcement Challenges: Cleveland’s police force has decreased significantly, with a 32% loss of officers during the epidemic, resulting in major understaffing within law enforcement organizations. Understaffing has hampered the city’s ability to properly address and prevent violent crime.
  • Socioeconomic Factors: Underlying risk factors such as poverty and low education levels have contributed to the rise in homicide rates in Ohio cities. These socioeconomic conditions can foster environments conducive to criminal activity.
  • Racial Disparities: Ohio, like the rest of the United States, has disparities in violence rates based on gender and race. The discrepancy is notably noticeable in homicides among men, with black males having a considerably higher rate than white males.

What Are Some of the Initiatives Being Implemented to Reduce the Homicide Rate in Ohio Cities?

Some of the strategies being implemented to minimize homicide rates in Ohio cities are:

  • Investing in Intelligence: Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb emphasized efforts to improve the city’s homicide solution rate by investing in excellent intelligence. This strategic strategy intends to increase law enforcement’s ability to quickly solve homicide cases.
  • Recruitment Strategies: Recognizing the importance of attracting and maintaining new officers, programs have been developed to address the recruitment issues that law enforcement agencies in Ohio confront. The police force is being strengthened by focusing on recruitment tactics and providing competitive pay hikes for new cadets.
  • Community Partnerships: Working together with community partners is critical to lowering violent crime in Ohio communities such as Columbus. By collaborating closely with local organizations and stakeholders, law enforcement authorities can improve community participation and conduct tailored interventions to combat violence.
  • Enhanced Training Programs: Investing in training programs for law enforcement officers can help them handle violent crime more successfully. Officers can be better prepared to face the problems posed by rising homicide rates if they get specific training in homicide investigations and crime prevention techniques.
  • Increasing Police Staffing: Addressing understaffing in law enforcement agencies is critical to improving public safety and lowering homicide rates. Recommendations to enhance the number of detectives in homicide units and to strengthen overall police staffing levels are critical steps toward boosting law enforcement capabilities.

These projects represent a multifaceted approach aimed at addressing the core causes of violent crime, improving law enforcement capacity, establishing community relationships, and implementing preventive methods to combat the disturbing trend of growing homicide rates in Ohio communities.

What Are Some of the Challenges That Ohio Cities Face in Reducing the Homicide Rate?

Some of the issues that Ohio cities confront in lowering homicide rates are:

  • Existing High Rates of Violent Crime: Before the current increase in killings, Ohio cities such as Cleveland, Akron, and Cincinnati grappled with high rates of violent crime. Addressing persistent concerns associated with violent crime presents a huge challenge for law enforcement and community leaders.
  • Impact of the epidemic: The COVID-19 epidemic has compounded Ohio communities’ issues, notably Cleveland. The pandemic has disrupted social services, economic stability, and mental health support systems, creating an atmosphere ripe for greater violence.
  • Ohio’s comparatively lax gun restrictions have made handguns more available, resulting in a proliferation of guns in communities. Easy access to firearms raises the chance of fatal consequences linked with violent crime, making it difficult to reduce homicides.
  • Cleveland’s police force has shrunk significantly as a result of the pandemic, losing 32% of its officers. The understaffing of law enforcement agencies impedes their ability to effectively confront and prevent violent crime, including homicide.
  • Understaffed Homicide Units: Despite suggestions to increase the number of detectives in homicide units, several Ohio cities, such as Cleveland, have failed to properly staff these essential units. Insufficient personnel numbers limit the ability to investigate and resolve homicide cases quickly.
  • Socioeconomic disparities: Risk factors such as poverty and a lack of education contribute to the prevalence of violent crime in Ohio’s cities. Addressing socioeconomic inequality necessitates comprehensive strategies that go beyond law enforcement alone.
  • Racial differences: Like many other places of the United States, Ohio has large racial differences in violent crime rates. The discrepancy is more pronounced in killings among men, with black males in Ohio having a 16-fold greater rate than white males.
  • Economic Costs: The economic costs of violence are significant, with homicide costing billions in medical care and lost wages. These financial obligations impede efforts to address and reduce homicide rates in Ohio’s cities.

Addressing these diverse difficulties would necessitate a collaborative effort among law enforcement agencies, community organizations, lawmakers, and people to develop effective initiatives aimed at lowering homicide rates and improving public safety in Ohio cities.

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