West Price Hill seeing more prostitution since police barricaded OTR streets

CINCINNATI -- Residents of West Price Hill worry that a recent crackdown on streetwalkers in Over-the-Rhine has rerouted prostitution problems to their neck of the woods.

Cincinnati police recently set up barricades in hopes of cutting back on johns cruising the streets. The first roadblock went up along McMicken Avenue on April 30.

When they started the prostitution-fighting strategy, police said that traditional methods to combat prostitution have not worked along the McMicken corridor, so they're changing their approach.

The barricades would remain for three months, city councilwoman Yvette Simpson said when the barriers launched.

A business owner in West Price Hill believes the barricades are forcing prostitution away from Over-the-Rhine, and closer to his place on Glenway Avenue.

"Instantly we've seen an increase in streetwalker prostitution," Pete Witte said. "I mean instantly. Literally, this week."

He wants to stop the problem before it gets started, especially so close to where he works. He said prostitution isn't the kind of business he wants in his community.

"Seven prostitutes standing within eyeshot of my business and I've never seen anything like it, and I've been in that location about 12 years now."

Back in Over-the-Rhine, residents are still sending complaints to Cincinnati police. Vanessa Sparks said the barricades have inconvenienced her, but they haven't curbed prostitution.

"We feel really put upon with the street being blocked off with no warning. They just gave us no time to properly prepare," Sparks said.

She hung signs in the area when the barricades first caused traffic trouble, saying "Punish the johns, not the people."

"I'm still seeing them, especially at night because nobody is really monitoring the barriers," Sparks said. "They're just there so anybody can drive around them so it really doesn't solve the problem."



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