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Cincinnati: Crime & Safety Discussion

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I live at 12th & race & work downtown. Have been here for 4 years. I certainly haven't noticed a massive out of the ordinary increase this year.

 

Taste was bad, but honestly, taste is bad every year. There are often small fights & robberies surrounding it. I never go. And, saying the media is whitewashing it is false. There were at least a dozen news reports on the taste violence. I overheard a suburbanite talking about how dangerous downtown was now and how "joe deters son isn't even safe". Doesn't sound like hiding the crime to me.

 

The homicide yesterday was of someone with a sizable rap sheet.  It's very tragic, and that it was so public is very troublesome, but it's also a fact that being involved in violent criminal activity dramatically reduces your life expectancy.

 

Having lived here for a number of years it's a constant ebb & flow, but the macro direction is slowly less crime each year. If anything, I think downtown south of 7th & OTR have gotten so much better that the crime has moved to the one gap, 7th to CP as a space to hide. It's not that it's more crime, just all the previously scattered crime has moved to that area. Remember last summer when half a dozen people got jumped on main & sycamore around 2 am over  two weeks? It was crazy & bad. Now that area is a bit safer.

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The area between 7th and Central Parkway is simply too dark and underpopulated.  There are very few residents and next to nothing open past 9-5 business hours in the area, so it leads to not nearly enough eyes on the street to encourage safety.  I'm hoping the streetcar will make this area more appealing for developers, and we will see an influx of residential units and businesses.  Really, you would think Kroger would at least want their HQ neighborhood to be safe, if not vibrant.  Court St. can and should be so much more than it currently is.

 

Is the 7th and Race area really that dark?  Besides, this murder happened in broad daylight.  Also, the Piatt Park area is host to the highest concentrated area of residents in the Central Business District.  There are many apartment buildings along the park not to mention the Garfield Suites hotel is actually on that street corner.  I'm guessing that's why they had so many witnesses to the shooting.

 

I'm a big streetcar supporter, but let's not count on it to be a primary driver to solve our crime problems (albeit it certainly should help in some small way).  Besides, this intersection like much of downtown isn't on the route.


"Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." - Warren Buffett 

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I live at 12th & race & work downtown. Have been here for 4 years. I certainly haven't noticed a massive out of the ordinary increase this year.

 

Our family lives near the corner as well!  You'll be happy to know the fencing off of Baldwin Alley is imminent.  I certainly will be glad to not have to call the police twice a day to try and chase out all the drug dealing going on back there.

 

Taste was bad, but honestly, taste is bad every year. There are often small fights & robberies surrounding it. I never go. And, saying the media is whitewashing it is false. There were at least a dozen news reports on the taste violence. I overheard a suburbanite talking about how dangerous downtown was now and how "joe deters son isn't even safe". Doesn't sound like hiding the crime to me.

 

I'm feeling like the Taste of Cincinnati coverage was quite a bit muted given the sheer number of assaults this year.  I spoke with one of the local officers and he felt like this year was much worse than the prior years.  Out of curiosity did you even hear about the running gun battles going on for three days the following weekend?  I'm also quite aware that the deceased in the recent murder was a bit of a punk.  The first thing I do when I hear of a murder in the area is check the clerk of courts website for their criminal background (always the same long rap sheet).  However, didn't you find the murder in broad daylight at all disturbing?  We take the kids for walks all the time in that area in the early evening.  I certainly have been getting a bit anxious lately taking the kids out with all the craziness going on, and I haven't felt that way in the eight years I've been down here.


"Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." - Warren Buffett 

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I have to say I am surprised that you've felt such a strong increase in crime. In the stars report you posted the total violent crime incidents declined this year to date compared to last, and to the previous 3 year average. But much more to the point, I live in the 15th block of Elm and I've not felt any discernible difference. Perception of crime is very individual, and very important. Don't take this the wrong way, please, but it might be possible that you are changing more than the real crime risk. Perhaps (and understandably) the raising of a child and continued exposure to certain behaviors can contribute to a sense of unease. But really - you are the first person I've heard this sort of visceral reaction from. Doesn't mean it's not real, but I'd be surprised if your perception was widespread amongst those living in DT or OTR.

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I have to say I am surprised that you've felt such a strong increase in crime. In the stars report you posted the total violent crime incidents declined this year to date compared to last, and to the previous 3 year average. But much more to the point, I live in the 15th block of Elm and I've not felt any discernible difference. Perception of crime is very individual, and very important. Don't take this the wrong way, please, but it might be possible that you are changing more than the real crime risk. Perhaps (and understandably) the raising of a child and continued exposure to certain behaviors can contribute to a sense of unease. But really - you are the first person I've heard this sort of visceral reaction from. Doesn't mean it's not real, but I'd be surprised if your perception was widespread amongst those living in DT or OTR.

 

I'm actually very much surprised to so few people are aware of the crime going on in their own neighborhood.  I'm beginning to wonder if a combination of wishful thinking, poor reporting and blissful ignorance is ruling the day.  There were three consecutive days of gun battles that apparently no one on this board has even heard of occurring in the heart of the business district.  A serial armed robber is on the loose with at least four victims in the last month or so.  That and we just had a murder in broad daylight right next to a hotel.  Have we as urban dwellers just become so accustomed to crime downtown that nothing bothers us anymore?

 


"Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." - Warren Buffett 

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Well gosh. I mean, I think I always assume that there is crime going on that I am unaware of. It seems difficult to figure out how much is "blissful ignorance" and how much is just needing to manage life and which things to be concerned about.

 

You've mentioned "three consecutive days of gun battles" and "a serial armed robber on the loose" several times. What am I supposed to do about that to make me safer?

 

Last year by this time, I had a bullet through the windshield of my car in broad daylight on Elm street. This year, I haven't seen any bullets. So, I guess things are getting better in my neck of the woods, right?

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Shooting of 3-5 people in Piatt Park tonight according to Twitter.  I hate to say it, but I feel like they need to police that park and enforce the rules keeping people out after dusk.  (I think that is when it is supposed to close.)  It's clearly a congregation point for something bad right now.

 

Also, and I feel like I say this all the time, but at what point will we actually see some foot patrols downtown?  I'm sorry, but cops driving around in cars just doesn't have the same effect on people as cops actually out and about, on the beat. 

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It's not the cops. If somebody looks around, sees no cops & decides, HEY, NOW is a good time to kill somebody/anybody - well that's just insanity.

If a large part of the population is insane, well, ok.

I think it's a problem of people never having developed creative negotiating skills (bad parenting).

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I find it really interesting that they keep reporting on the activity in Piatt Park, when both times is was obviously the gang that hangs out at the Library getting into it and then running across the street during the shootings.

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Well, on the one hand, even though this one looks related to the shooting on Monday, it certainly provides more support to bfwissel's statement (anecdotal-based or not) about an uptick in crime.

 

On the other hand, I have seen nothing but coverage of this shooting (and Monday's mentioned again and again) on Twitter and in the local media, so I can't agree with the idea that these things are being swept under the rug.  I have to imagine we will be hearing all about it on talk radio today. 

 

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It's not the cops. If somebody looks around, sees no cops & decides, HEY, NOW is a good time to kill somebody/anybody - well that's just insanity.

If a large part of the population is insane, well, ok.

I think it's a problem of people never having developed creative negotiating skills (bad parenting).

 

Do you really think that everyone who commits a shooting is insane?  Lacking empathy, not understanding societal conventions, all kinds of things, I can see.  To the extent that any shooting is connected to the drug trade (and based on what you read, that seems to be a common refrain), I'm guessing that the shooters think they are acting quite rationally.  That doesn't excuse it, but it doesn't make it insane.  Unless anyone engaged in criminal activity is insane. 

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It's not the cops. If somebody looks around, sees no cops & decides, HEY, NOW is a good time to kill somebody/anybody - well that's just insanity.

If a large part of the population is insane, well, ok.

I think it's a problem of people never having developed creative negotiating skills (bad parenting).

 

Do you really think that everyone who commits a shooting is insane?  Lacking empathy, not understanding societal conventions, all kinds of things, I can see.  To the extent that any shooting is connected to the drug trade (and based on what you read, that seems to be a common refrain), I'm guessing that the shooters think they are acting quite rationally.  That doesn't excuse it, but it doesn't make it insane.  Unless anyone engaged in criminal activity is insane. 

 

I think there is a different textbook definition of insane than a colloquial definition of insane.

 

Colloquially, "insane" means they have schizophrenia or something that is way outside of the normal human behavior.

 

Really, insane often means "in a state of mind that prevents normal perception, behavior, or social interaction."

 

So lacking empathy or not understanding societal conventions could be considered insane depending on which definition you are using.

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I feel like I'm beating a dead horse here, but violent crime is getting much, much worse in the Central Business District (CBD).  Gun violence is historically very rare in the CBD.  In the decade or so I've lived and/or worked downtown there were never consecutive days of running gun battles and almost never drive-by shootings.  The police are also very concerned about the uptick and officers have told me the roving gangs of kids assaulting people after events is the worst they've seen in ages.  Longtime downtown residents that I speak to also are getting very concerned about this trend with one person who's lived downtown for ages saying the last few months are the worst they've ever seen.

 

David Ginsburg, the head of Downtown Cincinnati Incorporated, was at the Downtown Residents Council meeting last night (held at a Main Branch Library meeting room that overlooks the now infamous Piatt Park intersection) trying to whitewash the recent incidents as targeted and not a trend.  Less than three hours after the meeting adjourned a drive by shooting occurred at that same intersection.  Groups like his as well as certain politicians are leaning on the media to downplay or not even report these incidents in an effort to encourage more visitors, residents and businesses to come downtown.  While I would agree with their goals I highly disapprove of their methods.

 

Many of you seem to think that this is either just a blip on the radar, or believe I'm being alarmist about these incidents.  Clearly the STARS reports do point to a mixed bag when it comes to crime.  However, as I noted above, I believe the statistics don't reflect the reality of the degree of violence that has been occurring lately.  So I just have to ask, what would be the trigger for you as an individual that would make you believe that there is a growing violence/crime issue?  Would it be greater reporting in the mainstream media?  Would it be the highlighting of the issue via reporting/messaging in social media or even more conversations with members of the community?  Are you only swayed by the cold hard statistics that are reported in the STARS reports?

 

When Mayor Mallory was in office he was on the scene when issues like this occurred.  Even if he were out of town he'd be very much engaged with the Police Chief, Council Members and the local media to help find solutions to decrease these acts of violence.  So, I'll ask again, where are our leaders?  John Cranley is more than happy to try and micromanage every other aspect of city government often inappropriately and beyond his charter defined role.  However, I haven't even heard a statement from him or any member of government (other than the Police Chief) on these recent incidents.  Wasn't safety a big part of John Cranley's platform when running for office?  What has to occur to get those who are supposed to lead to do their jobs?


"Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." - Warren Buffett 

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A lot of dudes hanging out with nothing to do in a confined area is never good, no matter where it is. 

 

Is there residential a long Piatt Park?  Seems more development would help deter the crime as well, but yeah sounds like they need to clear the place out.

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A lot of dudes hanging out with nothing to do in a confined area is never good, no matter where it is. 

 

Is there residential a long Piatt Park?  Seems more development would help deter the crime as well, but yeah sounds like they need to clear the place out.

 

The buildings that line Piatt Park constitute the largest concentration of residential units in the entire Central Business District.  The east part of the park is a bit more sparse, but there is a hotel at that corner, so there are plenty of eyes there.  Unfortunately, the park is becoming such a dangerous place that the residents and business folks are not using the park as much as they used to and that's just sad.


"Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." - Warren Buffett 

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The park wasn't used all that much back when I lived in OTR from 2008-2010. It was mostly a hangout for the homeless. There were a lot of small petty crime issues around the park and the library. I've had several friends mugged or robbed by the library. Not sure how much that has changed since then but I always felt that that part of downtown and Court Street were neglected.

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If the park is a known trouble spot, I would like to see more police presence there.  Heck, I'd like to see more police presence everywhere--I think seeing them mounted, or on bikes, has a real positive effect on everyone around. 

 

Bfwissel, I don't think people are viewing you as alarmist--I think there was some disagreement with what seemed to be anecdotal statements about increases in crime.  As to the downplaying of it, these last two incidents have certainly not been downplayed.  Based on your statements, it seems the police are certainly aware--what is their plan to deal with these issues? 

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Well, to each his own, and you are certainly entitled to your opinion, but to me the benefits of raising kids in the city--cultural, diversity-wise, ecological, financial--far outweigh any negatives.  And the perception is probably why people get worked up and defensive when the crime issue comes up like this. 

 

Here's one way I look at it.  In OTR this year, there has been a total of one murder.  In the small, rural town where I am from--which has fewer people than OTR, and far fewer than OTR and Downtown combined--there have been more murders this year so far as well as innumerable drug-related offenses.  Yet people look at those of use who raise children in urban areas and say that it's not understandable, and it seems so dangerous, while the general consensus on the rural town is that it is a "safe place to live and a good place to raise your children."  Crime is crime, it happens nearly everywhere--even in glitzy well-heeled suburbs, and rural country towns--but the focus seems only to be on crime in places like urban centers when people talk about "safety of the children."   

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You're right, its just an opinion, but the kind of crime that is being discussed currently, is not like anything you would find in most suburban neighborhoods.  I live in a suburb of Cleveland, and my kids are exposed to everything you mention as a benefit, which far outweigh any negatives being discussed here.

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What are the nature of the crimes in the small rural town you refer to?  I surmise that they are related to the Meth problem - indubitably the scene being at a private residence or trailer. The perception is, whether right or wrong, is that urban crime is more out in the open and suburban and exurban crime is more confined to private residences or otherwise hidden from the public spaces. Raising children comes with a whole host of issues to deal with, so if by choosing a place to live, one perceives they can avoid crime that is out in the open they will do so.

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You're right, its just an opinion, but the kind of crime that is being discussed currently, is not like anything you would find in most suburban neighborhoods.  I live in a suburb of Cleveland, and my kids are exposed to everything you mention as a benefit, which far outweigh any negatives being discussed here.

 

I grew up in Loveland, a nice clean suburb of Cincinnati. When I was a kid, my neighbor's ex husband led a high speed chase to her house that ended in a shootout in the streets. He shot a cop, and a few dozen cops returned fire. Bullets went flying everywhere. That's the closest I've ever come to being shot, even after living in OTR and Clifton for 10 years. This kind of thing can happen anywhere. Unless you're directly involved with someone stupid enough to think shooting someone is a good idea, you have some pretty slim chances of ever being randomly shot.

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I know bad things can happen anywhere, but I cannot understand wanting to raise children in that environment.  It seems so dangerous.

 

The way I see it the two big issues for raising in an urban environment are often schools and crime.  Schools for us aren't an issue since we've always planned on sending our kids to private Catholic schools.  The crime as jdm00 noted generally isn't as bad as people make it out to be.  Often crime is worse in other communities.  That being said, crime is an issue in downtown Cincinnati and although it had been getting a lot better it is making a very quick and dramatic shift the other direction lately.  The downward spiral does make me a bit concerned for sure, but for now we're sticking it out.

 

On the other hand, the positives of raising kids downtown are numerous.  There is plenty to do, great diversity, great community and the general higher quality of life that comes from a walkable/transit-friendly environment.  I've known too many people who raised kids in the exurbs that have been so insulated from the world that they are a bit of a mess now.


"Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." - Warren Buffett 

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What are the nature of the crimes in the small rural town you refer to?  I surmise that they are related to the Meth problem - indubitably the scene being at a private residence or trailer. The perception is, whether right or wrong, is that urban crime is more out in the open and suburban and exurban crime is more confined to private residences or otherwise hidden from the public spaces. Raising children comes with a whole host of issues to deal with, so if by choosing a place to live, one perceives they can avoid crime that is out in the open they will do so.

 

Lots of drug crime, armed robbery, tons of theft and property crime.  And not "indubitably" somewhere hidden.  The biggest so far this year was the murder of a person in the open at a baseball field; the same person kidnapped two other people (and may have stabbed them, I can't recall correctly).  The perpetrator then put the body of the victim in his pickup truck and was captured when he got into a car accident. 

 

No, these are not crimes that are "hidden from public spaces."  And more to the point, the crimes inside the trailers, as you put it, are not hidden from public view in a small town--pretty much everyone knows everything.  Go to topix.com, type in the zip code of any small town in Ohio (or any other state, for that matter) and you will find innumerable discussions of crime, drug use, violence, etc. in small towns all over the place. 

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Well, I did have some DVDs stolen from my car in the suburbs, which is probably worse than a random bullet through your window!  Other than that, I'm not going to try to compete with your personal experiences.  I wish you well.

 

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Nevermind.  Off topic. 

Could we get back ON topic?

FWIW, I live on top of a mountain on a deserted island & there is no crime problem...

Seriously, could there be a new gang in town?

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...what is their plan to deal with these issues? 

 

You've got me.  I know they're working on their nexus research and utilizing CIRV, but other than that....  I'm not a big fan on how they're engaging (or not engaging) the community.  They presented safety tips at the Downtown Residents Council, but did not present any way for the community to help "police" (for lack of a better word) our own community.  There is always Citizens on Patrol, but I found that program to be pretty poorly managed and not given much support.  We are presented with ways to help keep ourselves safe, but really no ways to help.


"Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." - Warren Buffett 

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Cranley seems to operate on the idea that everything good that happened under Mallory in the city center would have happened anyway on auto-pilot, perhaps at a somewhat slower pace (but without money or energy spent by city leadership). This might be one of the fruits of that theory put into action.

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^^^^ That ain't Mayberry....wow!

 

I agree, though the part about the body in the truck and then getting into a car accident (and fleeing the scene of the accident leading to capture) was to a great extent extremely small town. 

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A lot of dudes hanging out with nothing to do in a confined area is never good, no matter where it is. 

 

Is there residential a long Piatt Park?  Seems more development would help deter the crime as well, but yeah sounds like they need to clear the place out.

 

The buildings that line Piatt Park constitute the largest concentration of residential units in the entire Central Business District.  The east part of the park is a bit more sparse, but there is a hotel at that corner, so there are plenty of eyes there.  Unfortunately, the park is becoming such a dangerous place that the residents and business folks are not using the park as much as they used to and that's just sad.

 

Do the people that cause the trouble in the park live in the buildings that surround it?  It seems a lot of crime is committed in spots people frequent but don't necessarily live by, so they can get back to their hide out spot away from where they commit the crime.  If they don't live there, then yes the city should patrol and foot walk the area more frequently.  Since it is a park, I assume there aren't any loitering laws besides past the curfew?  Otherwise, I would say strictly enforce loitering laws to move people along.

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OK let's stop discussing other communities in this thread. I've tolerated things as long as it was still related to Cincinnati in some way, but things are getting out of hand. Unless you have some news about crime in Cincinnati, I would avoid this discussion.

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It's hard to tell where anybody stays. Even if someone's ID says one part of town, they can really live anywhere. I never told the BMV when I lived 4 years in Portsmouth or 2 years in W. Va.

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^Exactly.

 

The thing that is hard for me to understand is how certain people react to certain things, especially when it comes to gun violence. 

 

I am no expert by any means at all on crime, but I did a research paper in my econometrics class on "predicting crime".  With the limited statistical work I was able to do compared to PHD and master level economics, there wasn't one very strong variable in regards to predicting crime over a period of time for any particular city.  What I found with my professor and also with other crime research papers, is that crime has "inertia".  I.E., the strongest predictor of crime from city to city tended to be the crime levels from past years.  In conclusion, crime levels are tough to predict by hard numbers, and the inertia effect basically shows that crime is a culture in certain areas.

 

That said, I talked to a criminology professor and he had said that in cities, a big deterrent of crime is the likelihood a criminal will be caught in the act.  That is probably why places in OTR were high in crime for a long time, with all the abandoned buildings, alleys, low lit streets, etc.  (It seems OTR was and probably is in some cases a place where criminals congregate and do their work, they don't necessarily reside there).  Crime will continue to trend down in OTR and downtown as it is continued to be redeveloped.  Also, another variable in crime that has a "weak" significant variable is that it is negatively correlated with income levels (economic conditions).  Basically, F(Crime) = -(income) +(Previous Rates) + (etc.) + a fixed number.  I.E., as the economy improves as a whole, crime levels drop.

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Walking through OTR around Henry at 7 every morning & 4 every afternoon, I got the impression the vice people were in a parallel universe. They seemed to not understand why I would be walking through every day at the same time if I wasn't there to buy sex & drugs.

I think it's more than a culture & prohibition just enables them.

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