Cincinnati, Ohio hosts more than 25 million tourists every year, including 1.5 million visitors who attended the three-day BLINK Festival in October 2019. With the billions of dollars tourism pours into the local economy, the question of crime naturally comes up. Just how safe is Cincinnati?

Cincinnati’s Crime Rate

Cincinnati’s crime rate is considerably lower than the crime rates of other cities of similar size, in terms of both violent crimes and property crimes. Its crime rate is 37 percent lower than Charlotte, NC, for example; 40 percent lower than Orlando; and 6 percent lower than placid Portland. Moreover, Cincinnati’s overall crime rate fell by 6 percent from 2018 to 2019.  

If you experience crime in Cincinnati, it is likely to fall within one of three categories:

  • an accident involving a drunk driver,
  • a pickpocket, or
  • a swindler.

You are not more likely to experience such crimes in Cincinnati than in most cities of similar size. Rather, it’s just that you are less likely to experience more serious crimes, such as violent assaults

Crime Statistics

About 10,000 crimes were reported in Cincinnati during the first five months of 2020, a rate that is significantly lower than the average for the past four years. In fact, Cincinnati’s rate of serious crime is now significantly lower than it was in 2001. In 2019 the most common crimes reported in Cincinnati were those listed below.

Nonviolent Crimes:

The most common nonviolent crimes that occurred in Cincinnati in 2019 were:

  • Theft (3,866 reported incidents); and
  • Burglary (1.055 reported incidents).

Violent Crimes:

A number of violent crimes occurred in Cincinnati in 2019, but they were far rarer than nonviolent crimes:

  • Robbery (373 reported incidents).
  • Rape (71 reported incidents); and
  • Homicide (29 reported incidents).

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t other crimes happening in Cincinnati. These are just the ones that happen most often.

The Safest Neighborhoods in Cincinnati

There is no guarantee — you could become a crime victim no matter where you go. Your odds are better, however, if you stick to the safer neighborhoods. Following are some of the safest neighborhoods in Cincinnati, based on statistical analysis:

  • Hyde Park
  • Kennedy Heights
  • Mt. Lookout
  • Mt. Washington
  • Sayler Park

Sayler Park is the safest neighborhood in Cincinnati, with only 13 crimes per 100 people per year.

The Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in Cincinnati

Following are some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Cincinnati, based on crime statistics:

  • CBD/Riverfront
  • English Woods
  • Sedamsville
  • South Fairmount
  • North Fairmont

Statistically, English Woods ranks as Cincinnati’s most dangerous neighborhood. There were twice as many crimes reported last year as there are people who live there. Discounting crimes committed against tourists, the average English Woods resident is a crime victim about every six months.

Safety Tips

The following are some common-sense safety tips that could reduce your chances of becoming a crime victim by more than 50 percent.

  • Don’t wander off the main streets, especially if it is late at night and you are a single female.
  • Do not walk outside after dark while you are intoxicated. 
  • Use caution when operating ATM machines, especially late at night in isolated locations.
  • Public transportation is relatively safe — but watch out for pickpockets. If you carry a wallet, keep it in your front pocket.
  • Do not get involved with any illegal activity, such as gambling or drugs.
  • Avoid dangerous neighborhoods.

Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine Neighborhood: A Look at the Future? 

Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, home of the annual BLINK Festival, was once considered the most dangerous neighborhood in Cincinnati. Over-the-Rhine was subject to significant civil unrest in 2001, and by 2011 it had been named the most dangerous neighborhood in the US.

Five years later, Over-the-Rhine was unrecognizable even in the eyes of long-term residents. Its improvement is so obvious, that some observers say it looks more like Greenwich Village than the slum it was only 10 years ago. 

This transformation comes down to the efforts of one company — Cincinnati Center City Development Corp, also known as 3CDC. This company has invested or leveraged over $500 million into Over-the-Rhine. It has bought and refurbished over 100 historic buildings, and it has built nearly 50 more buildings.

Gentrification

Although Over-the-Rhine has climbed the ranks of respectability over the past decade, its living expenses have risen dramatically. This process is referred to by critics as “gentrification” — rents became so high that long-term residents can no longer afford to live there. If gentrification occurs all over Cincinnati, a dramatic increase in homelessness and crime is likely. If Cincinnati can solve its gentrification problem, however, many of its high-crime neighborhoods will disappear.