Hamilton County, Ohio

Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation

Hamilton County, Ohio

BCJI Funding Year: FY2020

BCJI Awardee: Hamilton County Sheriff's Office

Research Partner: University of Cincinnati Institute of Crime Science

Focus Area: Village of Lincoln Heights - Population 3,300

Challenges: Homicide, Sexual Assault, Robbery

Neighborhood Characteristics

The Village of Lincoln Heights, a township in Hamilton County, Ohio, will be the focus of this Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation (BCJI) project. Lincoln Heights' population is 84.3 percent African American, 8.3 percent Caucasian, and 6.2 percent bi- or multi-racial. Lincoln Heights has a median household income of $24,055, roughly $50,000 less than the national level. The local economy employs approximately one-third of the village, thus maintaining its vital role in the village's future. Several news media outlets have published articles on the historic nature of Lincoln Heights, the devasting economic conditions, persistent drug dealing and violence, and the hope citizens have for revitalization, all of which were vetted and confirmed by community leaders in Lincoln Heights.

There has been consistent and increasing violent crime in Lincoln Heights for the last three consecutive years. Overall, Lincoln Heights accounted for 25-75 percent of homicides, 8-10 percent of rapes, 8-16 percent of assaults, and 4-13 percent of robberies across all of Hamilton County Sherriff's Office’s (HCSO) jurisdiction between 2017 and 2019.

After World War II, African Americans came to Lincoln Heights to find jobs and residency. During this time, racial tensions were high, and residents of Lincoln Heights felt vulnerable. Historically, Lincoln Heights residents' primary source of income was generated from Wright Aeronautical Plant and a neighboring chemical plant. An attempt was made to incorporate Lincoln Heights as a city to independently solve these problems since Lincoln Heights depended on Lockland and Woodlawn Village management. This move was met with competition from Lockland, thus obstructing the process. Later, Lincoln Heights sold the western and eastern parts of their village to Lockland and Evendale, which further adversely affected residents' source of income. The Wright Aeronautical Plant management was wary of being located in Lincoln Heights because of its economic state, and the plant was eventually built on the recently sold land. After the township boundaries were restructured, Lincoln Heights was left with no commercial tax base and faced problems with infrastructure and municipal amenities that have yet to be corrected. Today, Lincoln Heights still suffers the consequences and is unable to restructure its economic and social capital.

Planning Phase

The goal of the project is to increase the number of prosocial interactions between HCSO deputies and residents, while addressing persistent violent crime hot spots. In alignment with BCJI principles, the HCSO will use a comprehensive place-based strategy to improve police-community relations and crime at crime hot spots. The strategy is designed to create a cross-sector partnership between the HCSO, the community, and the University of Cincinnati's Institute of Crime Science, and increase the number of prosocial interactions between HCSO deputies and residents, while addressing persistent violent crime hot spots. This program draws from a handful of evidence-based policing disciplines, including hot spot patrols, Community and Problem-Oriented Policing (CPOP), procedural justice principles, and community policing. The site's Planning Phase strategy contains nine components:

  • Developing a cross-sector partnership
  • Identifying community engagement areas (CEAs)
  • Launching a public notification campaign
  • Creating community engagement patrols,
  • Developing CEA profiles
  • Identifying community assets
  • Holding community engagement events
  • Conducting CPOP projects
  • Developing HCSO-led crime prevention strategies.

Other Key Partners

To be determined during the Planning Phase.

This project is supported by Cooperative Agreement No. 2018-BJ-BX-K035 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions contained herein are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice. References to specific agencies, companies, products, or services should not be considered an endorsement by the author(s) or the U.S. Department of Justice. Rather, the references are illustrations to supplement discussion of the issues. 

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