Cincinnati, Ohio, located right on the Ohio River in southwest Ohio, has a population of just over 300,000. This historic city, considered the “first American City” as it was the first large city developed after the Revolutionary War, has many of the same crime issues that plague other American cities. However, despite its reputation for crime, most residents feel very safe, even in downtown at night.
If you’re thinking about living in Cincinnati, you’ll have tons of amazing neighborhoods to explore where you can enjoy safety, nearby amenities, and beautiful parks within walking distance. Here’s a complete guide to the Cincinnati crime rate, dangerous areas of Cincinnati to watch out for, and the safest places to live.
Understanding the Cincinnati Crime Rate
One way to assess the safety of a city you’re considering visiting or moving to is to look at its crime rates compared to the national average. Crime rates are reported as the number of violent, property, and total crimes per 100,000 people. By comparing crime per 100k people, you can get an idea of the scale of crime in cities of different sizes and population densities.
Crime rates here are based on the FBI Uniform Crime Statistics (2019). Not all crimes are included in these calculations. Because crime rates are used to indicate someone’s risk of being a crime victim, crimes such as drug offenses and public intoxication are not included. However, crimes like drunk driving are also excluded, even though they do represent a risk to others.
Crime Rate in Cincinnati vs National Average
It’s easy to compare the Cincinnati crime rate versus the national average and the Ohio crime rate. However, keep in mind the FBI warns that many factors contribute to crime. Crime rates are not an accurate way to assess your level of risk in a city as a whole as crime is usually focused in smaller neighborhoods and tends to be targeted.
The national crime rate is:
- 2,580 crimes per 100,000 people
- 2,362 property crimes per 100,000 people
- 382 violent crimes per 100,000 people
The Ohio crime rate is 2,349 per 100k people, lower than the national average. How does Cincinnati compare?
The Cincinnati crime rate is:
- 5,380 crimes per 100,000 people
- 4,540 property crimes per 100,000 people
- 840 violent crimes per 100,000 people
You have a 1 in 19 chance of being the victim of crime in Cincinnati.
The Cincinnati crime rate is much higher than the national and state average. However, do not take this high crime rate at face value: most areas of Cincinnati are very safe.
Violent Crime in Cincinnati
Violent crimes include aggravated assaults, robberies, rapes, and murders. In 2019, there 2,535 violent crimes in Cincinnati including:
- 1,288 aggravated assaults
- 897 robberies
- 293 rapes
- 57 murders and non-negligent manslaughter
The Cincinnati violent crime rate is 840 violent crimes per 100k people, more than double the U.S. average. You have a 1 in 119 chance of being the victim of violent crime in the city.
The Cincinnati murder rate is 18.9 per 100,000 people, far higher than the national average of 5.0 per 100k.
Like most cities in America, Cincinnati experienced a dramatic increase in crime in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, 2020 was Cincinnati’s deadliest year on record. In 2020, there were 486 shootings, up 48% from 2019, and 94 homicides, up 29%. The previous high of 88 was set in 2006. In one weekend alone (August 14 to 16), 22 people were shot in the city.
During the first 10 months of 2020 alone, deteriorating social conditions, lockdowns, and other pandemic-related factors led to a 40% increase over the previous 3-year average of 58 murders in Cincinnati. 56% of these 82 homicides in 2020 were in just seven neighborhoods:
- Westwood (8 homicides)
- West End (8)
- Avondale (7)
- Mount Airy (7)
- East Price Hill (5)
- North Avondale (5)
- CUF (4)
The Police Chief and Cincinnati Mayor attributed the increase in shootings and homicides directly to the pandemic. In particular, they claimed the 10pm alcohol curfew was increasing gun violence.
Note that the Cincinnati Police Department has a 67% closure rate on homicide cases, well above the national average.
Property Crime in Cincinnati
There were 13,710 property crimes in Cincinnati in 2019 including:
- 9,422 larceny and theft
- 2,978 burglaries
- 1,310 car thefts
The Cincinnati property crime rate is 4,540 property crimes per 100k people. You have a 1 in 22 chance of being the victim of property crime.
The type of property crime depends on the area of the city. The Central Business District has the most car thefts and break-ins. Many thefts occur around the university campuses.
Dangerous Areas of Cincinnati
Cincinnati may have a reputation for its crime, but you’ll see for yourself living in this city that it’s actually quite safe. Most gun violence and other types of violent crime in Cincinnati are concentrated in just a few neighborhoods including residential areas with high poverty rates and OTR, where alcohol and nightlife can increase the risk of crime.
The following are the high-crime areas of Cincinnati with a look at the risks of each community. Note that several areas considered dangerous or high-crime right now are undergoing rapid gentrification and targeted by city planners. These up-and-coming neighborhoods will likely look very different within the decade.
OTR has a crime rate 9% lower than Cincinnati. It’s one of Cincinnati’s most exciting and vibrant neighborhoods known for its trendy bars, breweries, and nightlife. However, a large share of Cincinnati’s violent crimes and shootings occur in OTR.
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Over the Rhine was once considered America’s most dangerous neighborhood thanks to urban blight and poverty. Today, this historic district – one of America’s largest intact urban historic districts – is the center of Cincinnati’s nightlife. Prior to the 2001 Cincinnati riots, it had an owner occupancy rate of just 3%. After a real estate development company revitalized the entire district, it become more diverse, more affluent, and with more amenities for residents.
As Politico put it, Over the Rhine has gone from topping Compton, Los Angeles in 2009 for “most dangerous neighborhood” to looking and feeling like Greenwich Village.
Central Business District
The Central Business District and Riverfront area of downtown Cincinnati are notorious for crime, but most crime in this area is property crime. There are more car break-ins here than anywhere else in Cincinnati. Violent crime in the Central Business District is 11% below the national average.
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The West End has a crime rate 47% higher than the Cincinnati average and experienced soaring violent crime during the 2020 pandemic. Located west of Over the Rhine, many African Americans from Cincinnati have ties to the West End, a historic neighborhood where many, including those escaping slavery in the South, settled. However, Cincinnati in the 1940s forced redevelopment on the area to build a highway and displaced thousands.
Home to the Cincinnati Zoo, Avondale has a crime rate 39% higher than the Cincinnati average. The violent crime rate is 210% above the national average. Over 40% of the population is at or below the poverty level and over 75% are renters. There are more than 2,000 abandoned homes in Avondale, but it is being revitalized.
Westwood near Mount Airy and Price Hill has a crime rate 22% higher than the Cincinnati average. The Westwood violent crime rate is 172% higher than the national average. Westwood is Cincinnati’s largest neighborhood with 10% of the city’s population. It’s one of several urban neighborhoods undergoing revitalization.
Safest Neighborhoods in Cincinnati
Concerned about crime in Cincinnati? Most of the 52 neighborhoods in the city are very safe with crime rates far below the city’s average. Here are some of the safest places to live in Cincinnati ranging from urban neighborhoods to charming communities that feel like small villages.
You can also check our guide to the top safe Cincinnati neighborhoods for families, young professionals, and retirees. You may want to check Cincinnati suburbs too; most suburbs of Cincinnati have very little crime and a low cost of living.
Hyde Park is one of the best places to live in Cincinnati with a low crime rate, beautiful architecture, and a charming town square. Known for its walkable layout, restaurants, and shops, Hyde Park has a crime rate 60% below the Cincinnati average. Here’s what you can expect while living in Hyde Park, Cincinnati.
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This small neighborhood along the Ohio River is just 3 square miles with a population of about 5,000. It’s known for its beautiful riverfront parks and very low crime – there are just 13 crimes per 100 people, most of which are property crimes.
Mt. Adams is one of the safest Cincinnati neighborhoods known for its walkability, parks, and unique Old-World European feel. The 1,700 residents are mostly young professionals. Check out our guide to living in Mount Adams, Cincinnati to see if it’s a good fit for you.
Cincinnati Safety Tips – How to Avoid Crime in Cincinnati
- Be careful about where you park your car, particularly in Over the Rhine, Riverfront, and the Central Business District. Whenever possible, use a secure parking garage rather than street parking.
- Be aware of your surroundings at night. Most areas of downtown are safe at night, but the areas with bars like Over the Rhine can be high-crime areas.
- Most crime in Cincinnati is theft, particularly on and around college campuses like the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. Keep valuables nearby and be careful about leaving your bicycle outside unsecured. University students can also use services like the Bearcat Guardian app and NightRide, a UC student-run transportation service.
Cincinnati Police Department
- Chief of Police: Elliot Isaac
- Sworn officers: 1,024 (133 civilian personnel)
- Non-emergency number: 513-765-1212
- Address: Cincinnati Police District, 210 Ezzard Charles Dr, Cincinnati, OH 45214
The Cincinnati Police Department was formed in 1859 initially to guard against fire. Today, the department has four bureaus that investigate crime and support the community: Investigations, Support, Administration, and Patrol. The Patrol bureau has five districts as well as SWAT, a Special Services Section, and a Night Chief. The CPD serves 52 neighborhoods in Cincinnati in five districts plus the Central Business District.
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Cincinnati Crime Rate FAQ
What is the crime rate in Cincinnati, Ohio?
The Cincinnati crime rate is 5,380 crimes per 100k people compared to the national average of 2,580 crimes per 100k people. The violent crime rate is 840/100k people.
Is Cincinnati safe?
The crime rate in Cincinnati is much higher than the national average. However, violent crime and most property crime can be avoided easily in most neighborhoods.
What are the bad areas of Cincinnati?
Cincinnati neighborhoods with the highest crime include Central Business District, Avondale, the West End, Over the Rhine, and Mount Airy.
Don’t let the seemingly high Cincinnati crime rate fool you; the Queen City is largely safe with dozens of neighborhoods perfect for families and young professionals. In many neighborhoods, the crime rate is far lower than the national average! Ready to experience everything Cincinnati has to offer? Call our award-winning movers at Bell Moving & Storage for a free moving quote once you’ve narrowed down your options and chosen the right place to call home.