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Published Articles & Research Reports

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

Cleveland's Public Safety Strategy to Reduce the Cost of Crime  Should Start with Hiring More Police Officers 
(Crain's Cleveland Business, April 10, 2023)

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. ​

James Trutko article in Crain's

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.

The Pandemic Is Still Keeping People Away From the Workforce
(By Jay Miller, Crain's Cleveland Business, Dec. 5 ,2021)

While Northeast Ohio went through a spike in the unemployment rate during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, just as the rest of the country did, people in the region did not return to work at as high a rate as the country as a whole.

Instead, the region's labor force, the number of people working plus the number of people who are seeking work, has shrunk since the pandemic began at a rate significantly higher than the rest of the country, said Cleveland-area economist James Trutko.

"I've never seen really a loss in the labor force like this," Trutko said in a phone interview last Tuesday, Nov. 30. "The drop in employment and the simultaneous drop in the labor force, that's the big new thing to me. Both of those numbers are very surprising."

Cleveland Innovation Project Goes "Back to the Future" with Its 2020 Plan
(Crain's Cleveland Business, Nov. 30, 2020)

Critique of Cleveland Innovation Project

By slanting the Cleveland Innovation Project's 2030 goals toward unrealistic social objectives rather than broad economic benefits of innovation, CIP missed an opportunity to rethink economic development and apply the lessons of the pandemic.

Leaders Must Step Up To Rebuild the Urban Service Sector
(Crain's Cleveland Business, Aug 23, 2020)

Local Service Industry Flattened By Pandemic

If the region is to rebound and recover its economic vitality, local political and community should prioritize preserving existing service businesses and restoring business confidence so that new entrepreneurs are willing to make investments that will create jobs.

The Coming Crisis of Entreneurship
(Crain's Cleveland Business, May 31, 2020)

Political and Community Leadership Must Understand Too Few Entrepreneurs Will Lead to Too Few Jobs

The pandemic has had a severe impact on local employment and on local employers. Many employers simply will not survive and the lack of employers will retard efforts to reduce unemployment. Local leaders must recognize that most people will not start a business that will eventually hire workers if they feel government will devalue their sacrifice and redistribute any potential rewards to the workers. 

Positive Employment Trends Are Hiding in Plain Sight
(Crain's Cleveland Business, March 17, 2020)

Most Media Didn't Recognize the Strong Employment Gains and Low Unemployment in 2019

For the past two decades, many Clevelanders have experienced real economic losses. However, in the past two years, there appears to be real economic improvement in jobs and unemployment that has perhaps gone unnoticed, and certainly largely unreported, by local media.


If local policymakers can recognize the trend, identify the underlying causes and align local economic development policies to support further improvement, Clevelanders may be able to replace their pessimism with some realistic optimism.

Could Measuring Local Government Performance Make A Difference?
(Crain's Cleveland Business Dec 8, 2019)

Metropolitan Cleveland Needs a Scoreboard on Government Performance to Improve Political Accountability

A famous politician once said, "Elections have consequences." In Cuyahoga County, the "consequence" of absence of performance data is that no politician is ever held accountable at election time for delivering government services effectively and efficiently. Ultimately, if voters do not punish politicians for government ineptitude, the "consequence" for the community is poor quality and relatively expensive public services and the area is less attractive to entrepreneurs and migrants.

What metropolitan Cleveland needs is a widely available scoreboard that summarizes how well government is delivering public services, compared to other communities. 

Can Cleveland Become One of America's Safest Big Cities
(Crain's Cleveland Business, Oct. 7, 2019)

Reducing Violent Crime in Metro Cleveland Should Be A Higher Community Priority

Political and community leaders — should focus on reducing crime and violence and creating greater community safety because it is a precondition for achieving so many other community goals. Persistent levels of crime make it more difficult to increase economic opportunity and reduce poverty and they compromise the delivery of educational and community services. 

Changing the Entrepreneurial Climate in Metro Cleveland
(Crain's Cleveland Business, May 19, 2019)

New Policies Are Needed to Encourage Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship in Metro Cleveland has trailed national and regional rates for some time. It's past time for community nonprofit and business leaders to re-examine and revise their strategies to fix metropolitan Cleveland's poor entrepreneurial climate. The unfortunate reality is that entrepreneurial businesses are just hard to start and it's doubly hard to succeed and grow if the environment is not very supportive. 

Finding Safety and Happiness in Cuyahoga in Cuyahoga County 
(Crain's Cleveland Business, June 30, 2019)

Is County Government Acting in the Spirit of the Founders?

The Fourth of July is a time when we celebrate one of the great documents of human history: the Declaration of Independence. In just 1,458 words, the document defines man's fundamental rights and the nature of legitimate government. Is county government operating in the spirit of the founders?

It Sure Feels Like Groundhog Day In Cuyahoga County Government
(Crain's Cleveland Business, Feb. 3, 2019)

County Government Reform Has Run Out of Steam

For a while over the last few years, Cuyahoga County residents could feel better with successful sports teams, the Republican Convention, downtown housing projects and positive national press, and could sense that county government was making some progress. Over the past year, however, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that we’re seeing the reoccurrence of county corruption, incompetent county leadership and poor county governance. 

Are You Getting Your Money's Worth from Cuyahoga County Government?
(Crain's Cleveland Business, Sep. 18, 2018)

County Residents Get Mediocre County Government Services for Above-Average Taxes

Cuyahoga County property owners recently received a reappraisal of their property from the county's fiscal office. For many property owners, the reappraisal will result in a substantial property tax increase in 2019. Most of the increase will flow to the Cuyahoga County government, so it's worth asking how the county government is spending the public's tax dollars and whether the public is getting its money's worth.

Was "Reform" Successful in Cuyahoga County?
(Crain's Cleveland Business, July 22, 2018)

More County Government Reform is Needed

On Nov. 3, 2009, two-thirds of Cuyahoga County voters approved a reform of Cuyahoga County government. Voters hoped fundamental reform would stem rampant county corruption, strengthen political accountability and improve the county's economic growth. Nearly a decade later, it's time to assess how successful the reform was.

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