A new study commissioned by my office puts solid numbers to a phenomenon that law enforcement officers and prosecutors have long known: A small group of repeat offenders is responsible for a large percentage of violent crime in our state.
The study found that people convicted of two or more violent offenses made up less than 1 percent of Ohio’s population but were responsible for nearly 57 percent of all violent crime convictions between 1974 and 2010. Collectively, they averaged 7.4 arrests and 6.4 convictions. Not surprisingly, our urban centers — Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, and Summit counties — are home to more than half of the state’s violent repeat offenders.
My office commissioned the study to inform the work of our Violent Crimes with Guns Advisory Group, formed last year to guide our thinking on how to best reduce gun crimes and imprison the worst offenders. The panel is made up of local, state, and federal law enforcement; prosecutors; victim advocates; and gun rights proponents.
Researcher Deanna Wilkinson, an associate professor with Ohio State University’s Department of Human Development and Family Science, conducted the study using 36 years of Bureau of Criminal Investigation criminal histories along with Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction records.
We shouldn’t be surprised by her findings, but we must be motivated by them. My philosophy has always been that our prisons should have room for violent offenders.
In the coming months, my staff will work with the Governor’s Office and legislators to find and propose solutions. Because even as the state works to reduce prison costs and crowding, we need to make sure that the worst of the worst offenders — those mostly likely to strike again — remain behind bars.
Kudos to caring mentors
Representatives of the Canton and Youngstown police departments and Muskingum County Sheriff’s Office are mentoring kids through a program that teaches baseball fundamentals and important life skills.
In April, Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. joined me in announcing the Badges for Baseball pilot offerings. With support from the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation and my office, the program gives law enforcement and children an opportunity to build trust and cooperation.
“We are thrilled to bring the Badges for Baseball program to the youth of Ohio,” Ripken said. “The program has been successful and popular with law enforcement officers across the nation.”
Very respectfully yours,
Ohio Attorney General