CINCINNATI - New crime statistics from the Cincinnati Police Department show a double-digit decrease in homicides over the last year.
The number of murders -- a key barometer of violent crime in the city -- is down 27 percent from the same period last year.
The statistics, provided to 9 News just as they were handed to Chief James Craig on Wednesday afternoon, show there have been 32 murders in Cincinnati so far this year.
By the same time last year, there were 44 murders.
Violent crime overall is down 7 percent during the same period.
The 27 percent reduction in murders is significant not only because homicide rates are the most closely followed statistic in violent crime, but also because the drop took place during the new police chief's first year on the job.
"When you talk about reducing violent crime, reducing homicides, that does not happen by accident," said Chief James Craig during a lengthy interview Wednesday.
Chief Craig is the first leader of the Cincinnati Police Department selected from outside its own ranks in the department's more than two century history.
The chief credited new initiatives such as CompStat, a statistics based crime-fighting program created in New York, and used in Los Angeles, where Craig served on the LAPD for 28 years.
He also said putting officers back on the street from desk jobs and clerical positions has helped drive crime down.
But more than any other reason, the chief gave credit to Cincinnati police officers themselves.
"I often times say that cops count -- they absolutely do count," said Craig, "and I have the good fortune of working with some of the best in the industry, I know because now my fourth police department, I'm fortunate."
Watch Brendan Keefe's exclusive interview with Chief James Craig Thursday at 6 p.m. on 9 News.
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