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Cleveland Downtown

Metro Cleveland Needs a Local Crime Monitor

Cleveland Magazine/Community Leader, Feb. 2024

Comparative crime statistics for Cleveland continually rank Cleveland among the top tier of crime cities in America. Compiling and interpreting local crime data is not easy. The FBI and the State of Ohio compile local data on violent crime (homicides, rape, robberies, and aggravated assaults) and property crime (burglaries, larceny-thefts, and motor vehicles thefts). Unfortunately, it is not mandatory for police to provide the data. The lack of data from some communities makes it difficult to see overall area crime levels or to determine trends. 

Despite these limitations, it is possible to develop a picture of major crime in the area’s core county. When the FBI data is combined with police data obtained by Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to local police departments, a troubling picture on crime in Cuyahoga County emerges. Over the four-year period, Cuyahoga County averaged about 33,800 total crimes, including 7,700 violent crimes and 26,100 property crimes.

Crime is a major factor in Metro Cleveland. The lack of a research organization to collect and analyze the crime data and the lack of a mechanism to publicize their findings to community leaders contributes to poor public safety policies. 

Cuyahoga Total Crimes- Average

Metro Cleveland Employment & Labor Force Strengthened Slightly in 2023 But Remained 5% Below Pre-Pandemic Levels.

Metro Cleveland's employment was 984,100 in Dec 2023, about 8,400 better than a year ago, but still 46,900 below the pre-pandemic level. The labor force increased by 5,200 to 1,015,300 since Dec 2022 but it remained 55,500 below the pre-pandemic level.


Unemployment was 31,300, about 3,200 lower than Dec 2022. The preliminary unemployment rate was 3.1%, a very low rate historically. The smaller labor force was a major factor in the low unemployment rate.


Overall, Metro Cleveland's recent economic growth improved slightly in 2023 but employment was still below pre-pandemic levels. The smaller employment and labor force levels may represent a permanent contraction of the Metro Cleveland economy, although the continued recovery in 2023 was encouraging.

Metro Cleveland Employment & Labor Force- Dec 2023
Metro Cleveland Employment- Dec 2023

Metro Cleveland Had the Worst Employment Growth Rate of 12 Midwestern Metros from 2001 to 2023

Metro Cleveland employment decreased by 6.1% since 2001, compared to a gain of +4.2% for the Midwest region. Overall, Metro Cleveland dropped by 64,900 over the two-decade period. The area lost 7.9% from 2001 to 2010, gained 4.6% from from 2010 to 2019 and dropped 2.5% during the 2019-2023 Covid/recovery period. The area ranked last out of 12 comparable major Midwestern metropolitan areas in employment growth rate.

2021-23 Midwest Metros Chart
2001-23 Chg Midwest Employment

Cleveland's Public Safety Strategy to Reduce the Cost of Crime  Should Start with Hiring More Police Officers 

A recent Crain's op-ed on the cost of crime and public safety quantifies the cost of crime in Cleveland and assesses whether hiring more police would reduce the overall cost of crime. The question boils down to whether more police or social programs are the most cost-effective means of reducing crime.


What's new in this article? Nobody has previously tried to estimate the cost of 26,000 crimes in Cleveland. The article estimates that the cost to Cleveland residents is $1.6 billion or $4300 per capita), a huge burden on Cleveland residents, 


The article quantifies whether hiring more police would reduce the overall cost of crime to Cleveland residents. The result was that adding 10% more police reduced the cost of crime by 480 incidents and $63 million including the cost of police. Going to full staffing would save even more. 

For those who are interested , a PDF with some tables that go more in depth on crime and the calculations. I included the tables to be transparent on the assumptions and to stimulate more thinking and better policies.

Crain's Hire More Police
Cleveland Crime-4 yr Average
Cleveland Other Illegal Activity

Economic Overview of Metropolitan Cleveland & Akron
Presented to Educational Service Center NEO Business Advisory Council (Feb 3, 2023)

The presentation is an in-depth look at the impact of Covid on the seven-county Cleveland-Akron metropolitan area provided to a group of educational administrators.  It analyzes long-term economic trends & provides a post-pandemic economic outlook.

Metro Cleveland- Akron Employment Trend

A Smaller Economy Permanently?

Metro Cleveland's Employment & Labor Force Rebound Has Stalled 30,000-40,000 Below Pre-Pandemic Levels (May 2023)

Metro Cleveland's employment was 994,700 in May 2023, about 17,200 better than a year ago, but still 31,100 worse than the pre-pandemic level. The labor force increased by 6,700 to 1,034,400 since May 2022 but it remained 48,700 below the pre-pandemic level. Unemployment was 39,700 about 10,500 better than a year ago. The unemployment rate was 3.9%, a point lower a year earlier but the favorable rate is somewhat misleading. The smaller labor force, not strong employment, was a major factor in the low unemployment rate. Overall, Metro Cleveland's economic growth remains weak and below pre-pandemic levels. The smaller employment and labor force levels may represent a permanent contraction of the Metro Cleveland economy.

Metro Cleveland Employment & Labor Force in May 2023
Metro Cleveland Employment- May 2023

2021-22 Average Proficiency Scores for Cuyahoga County Public School Districts Continue to be Discouraging

SUMMARY:The Average 3rd-Grade-High School Proficiency Score for 31 public school districts in Cuyahoga County was 61.6, slightly above Ohio's 57.7. There was significant variance between districts and several large, poor-performing dominated the overall outcome. The 13 districts with average scores below 60 totalled 73,000 students with an estimated 48,400 students below proficiency of 60.

More information on the test results are available in a PDF on the Schools page

Cuyahoga County Public Schools

A Return to "Normal" Public Schools Is Not Enough
(Crain's Cleveland Business, March 7, 2022)

The 2020-21 school year was dismal for public education in Cuyahoga County as schools were buffeted by the COVID pandemic and social and political currents.


Most parents and the public hoped that schools would return to "normal" for the county's 130,000 public school students this year, but even if COVID disruptions fade in spring, the public schools' "normal" performance fails to prepare many students for the future and handicaps Cuyahoga County's economic growth.


Cuyahoga Schools Proficiency & Expenditures

What's the Crime Rate in Cuyahoga County?

Based on data from various sources, there were about 40,000 reported crimes in Cuyahoga County in 2020. This includes the Ohio Incident-Based Reporting System (OIBRS) estimate of 35,200, plus 4,600 estimated from other sources.


The number of violent crimes (murder, rape, robbery, assault) was about 9,100 (OIBRS-8,500 and Other sources-600) and the number of property crimes (burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft) was 30,700. Almost two-thirds of the total crime was in Cleveland, including nearly 80% of violent crimes.

2020 Cuyahoga Crime

Interested in recent employment-unemployment data for Cuyahoga County? Read this report,

2022 Cuyahoga County Employment
2022 Cuyahoga Employment & Unemployment
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