Columbus Crime Plummets 2010-2014

The FBI recently released full 2014 crime statistics for its Uniform Crime Reporting program, and the results show a big drop in Columbus’ crime since 2010.

Let’s take a look at some of the numbers. First up, violent crimes.

Total violent crimes between 2010 and 2014 fell 16.6%, with any single person’s chances in 100k of being a victim of violent crime falling 21%. This is a pretty significant drop in just 4 years.

Here’s an individual violent crime breakdown:
-Murders were down 15.2%
-Rape was up 28.6%. The definition has changed in this time, which may explain some of that increase.
-Robbery was down 37.7%
-Aggravated Assault was up 14.6%.

So some good and bad. The good news for assault is that it’s well under where it was just 10 years ago, and almost 50% down from its historic peak in the early 1990s. It may have just been a bit worse year in 2014 for this, as all crime totals go through spikes even during a general decline. The bad news is that rape is historically high, but because the definitions have changed for it recently, it’s hard to make a fair comparison to previous years. If the current definition was in place years ago, it’s certainly possible it would now show a decline. Or, as with assault, rape totals could’ve seen a temporary spike above the trend line. Future years will tell the tale.

Now for property crime, something that’s always been somewhat high in Columbus, possibly due to the young population age and large number of college students.

Property crime in the city has dropped 29.8% 2010-2014, even more significant than the decrease in violent crime.

Here’s the breakdown:
-Burglary dropped 40.6%.
-Larceny Theft dropped 24.5%.
-Motor Vehicle Theft dropped 29.3%.

All down in the period.

So what about 2015 and beyond? Well, indications are that crime is up for 2015 vs. last year, though there are differing theories as to why. Crime being up seems to be widespread in cities around the nation, and some of it has been attributed to a newfound national popularity in heroin. Until we see 2015’s number sometime next year, we won’t know exactly the impact. For now, we can celebrate that the city has indeed become safer.

For more on 2014’s numbers, and to check out other cities, go here:

Link of the Day: The Columbus Land Bank

The Columbus Land Bank got started back in 1994 to address vacant land and properties, but more specifically, the worst of the worst. Over the years, the number of properties on the list has grown into the hundreds as the city bought the properties to either renovate what could be renovated, or to demolish those that could not be saved and were contributing to the decline of surrounding neighborhoods.

The city provides a few links where these properties can be searched for and purchased. The properties are in various stages of decline and are being sold only to those qualified to renovate the properties or replace them with new development. Many of them are in urban locations, and most of the houses are old, with many retaining elements of their original architecture. In most cases, they need major to moderate rehabs, however. Given the rise of urban living lately and the rapid pace of revitalization happening throughout urban Columbus, these properties maintain some inherent value despite what their overall condition may be.

The first link is an interactive map where you can search for properties. It’s a great resource where you can search by address, street or area. You can also apply to buy properties if you are so inclined.

The second link is a list of for-sale property highlights. This list is updated through the last 90 days.

Take a look!

Columbus Poverty vs. Ohio

The following numbers are based off the American Community Survey. They are estimates, not physical counts like the population census, so there is a definite fudge factor involved with them as to their overall accuracy. 2011 is the latest year available for the ACS estimates.

2011 % of City Population Living in Poverty, Lowest to Highest
1. Columbus: 23.2%
2. Akron: 28.9%
3. Cincinnati: 29.5%
4. Toledo: 30.1%
5. Youngstown: 33.2%
6. Cleveland: 34.3%
7. Dayton: 35.7%

Change from 2010-2011
Cincinnati: -3.6%
Akron: -1.7%
Cleveland: +0.9%
Columbus: +2.7%
Dayton: +3.5%
Youngstown: +4.4%
Toledo: +16.7%
Change from 2007-2011
Youngstown: +1.8%
Columbus: +10.5%
Cleveland: +16.3%
Dayton: +18.2%
Akron: +22.5%
Cincinnati: +25.5%
Toledo: +33.2%

Change from 2000-2011
1. Cleveland: +30.4%
2. Youngstown: +33.9%
3. Cincinnati: +34.7%
4. Dayton: +55.2%
5. Columbus: +56.8%
6. Akron: +65.1%
7. Toledo: +68.2%

2011 % of Metro Population Living in Poverty, Lowest to Highest
1. Cincinnati: 14.3%
2. Columbus: 15.4%
3. Cleveland: 16.0%
4. Youngstown: 16.1%
5. Akron: 16.6%
6. Dayton: 17.6%
7. Toledo: 20.2%

Change from 2010-2011
1. Youngstown: -5.8%
2. Columbus: -1.9%
3. Cincinnati: +2.1%
4. Cleveland: +6.0%
5. Akron: +7.1%
6. Dayton: +8.0%
7. Toledo: +16.1%

Change from 2007-2011
1. Youngstown: +8.8%
2. Columbus: +14.9%
3. Akron: +23.9%
4. Cleveland: +26.0%
5. Cincinnati: +28.8%
6. Toledo: +36.5%
7. Dayton: +37.5%

Change from 2000-2011
1. Youngstown: +40.0%
2. Cleveland: +48.1%
3. Cincinnati: +50.5%
4. Columbus: +55.5%
5. Toledo: +66.9%
6. Akron: +69.4%
7. Dayton: +76.0%

Surface Parking and Downtown Columbus


In 1985, there were more than 60,000 surface parking spaces in the Downtown area. The mid-1980s to early 1990s represented the peak of the surface parking space for the city. The following series of maps shows some of the worst parts of Downtown both in 1994 and again in the 2010-2011 period, highlighting surface parking and how it’s changed the last 16-17 years.

Red: Existing surface lots with no known plans for development.
Blue: Surface lots that have either been replaced since the time the image was taken or are currently being replaced with development.
Yellow: Current surface lots on which future development is in planning.
Green: Non-parking areas under consideration for future development.

First up, we have the Arena District.

As one can see, 1994’s future Arena District was a sea of surface parking, particularly in southern sections.

The 2010 image shows that quite a few of the lots have disappeared, a few have moved and some remain where they were. Most of the largest lots have been replaced with development or are in the process of being replaced.

Next up is the far northern sections of Downtown, east of the Convention Center.

In my opinion, this area is probably Downtown’s most desolate section, both in 1994 and 2010. Large swaths of the area are either surface parking or vacant lots. Aside from a decent housing project for homeless just south of 670 and some expansions of the Columbus State campus, this area has seen almost no changes since 1994.

Northeast Downtown

North-Central Downtown

And finally, Southwestern Downtown

So what does this prove? Well, obviously that many parts of Downtown have more parking lots than buildings. The majority of these lots were once densely developed as late as the 1950s, so the maps show just how much was lost over the years. The number of open lots has decreased slightly since the 1990s as development increases, but there is still a LONG way to go.