Crime rate down in Over-the-Rhine

CINCINNATI - Cincinnati police say the crime rate is going down in the city's oldest neighborhood.

The FBI and Cincinnati police announced Thursday that they arrested five alleged gang members accused of committing crimes in Over-the-Rhine.

There hasn't been a homicide in Over-the-Rhine in seven months.

While things aren't perfect there, many people think the area is headed in the right direction.

One of the many new businesses on Vine street is a Mexican restaurant named Bakersfield.

Bakersfield has been open for a little more than a month.

"This [Vine] street convinced me to move back to Cincinnati," said Lauren Altman, manager of Bakersfield.

Altman left Cincinnati in 2008. She spent three years living in Portland, Ore. and says she never thought of Over-the-Rhine as a destination before she came back last year.

"I think finally people are realizing all the architecture, all the history we have, so they wanted to be a part of this growth and be part of the scene here," said Altman.

Ennis Tait, the pastor of Church of the Living God in Avondale, has also seen the benefit of the revitalization in Over-the-Rhine.

"It is really starting to shape up, and crime is truly down," said Tait.

Tait is also part of project Nehemiah Cease Fire, a group that helps to organize community leaders to stand up against violence.

"Chief Craig is doing an excellent job of being a man of his word and putting more officers on the street in that District 1 area," said Tait.

But Tait knows not all parts of Over-the-Rhine have benefited from revitalization efforts. Vacant buildings line many of the streets north of Liberty Street.

"I think that particular area is still wrestling with some true issues of violence," said Tait.

Cincinnati police say crime is going up in Avondale as it decreases in Over-the-Rhine and Tait has noticed. He said he is hoping to mobilize leaders in more of the city's neighborhoods so they're ready if criminals migrate there.

"I think where we need to be careful that as we're pushing individuals out to other areas, that we already have things in place to deal with them before they arrive," said Tait.

The investigation that led to the arrest of the five suspected gang members in Over-the-Rhine has been going on for more than a year.

Cincinnati Police Chief James Craig says his police force is committed to doing whatever it takes to disrupt gang activity in the city.

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