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Cincinnati plagued by spate of unsolved murders

CINCINNATI (AP) — Cincinnati police department records show that the agency has solved only two of the latest spate of 18 murders that have occurred in the city since early March.

That statistic was reported Friday by The Cincinnati Enquirer, which called it one of the longest and deepest dry spells in case resolutions in recent years.

The department says a leadership transition now in the works and threats to staffing have nothing to do with the unsolved cases or spike in violence. Leaders say positive gains in 2012 — the city saw the fewest killings last year since 2001 — make the bad stretches more noticeable. And, police say, violence generally increases in the spring when it stays light longer and more people are outside.

The last two weeks have been especially bad in the city. Since May 14, Cincinnati has seen six slayings and 23 nonfatal shootings, a pace that's quicker than normal.

Police successfully closed eight of the year's first 11 homicides in January and February before hitting roadblocks. And it comes at a time when officer layoffs had been threatened and the department is facing changes in leadership after Chief James Craig's announcement that he's leaving to be chief in his hometown of Detroit.

Newly promoted Lt. Col. Dave Bailey, now in charge of the Office of Criminal and Special Investigations, said just because the cases haven't been closed doesn't mean there aren't suspects.

"A lot of closures are in the pipeline," he said.

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