Safety presentation begins combat on North College Hill crime

CINCINNATI -- A recent uptick in robberies in the North College Hill area has prompted a call to action.

The North College Hill Police Department and the Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired hosted a safety presentation Wednesday afternoon to help combat the problem. The gathering, held at Clovernook, was open to the public.

The presentation provided information on protecting yourself, what not to carry with you and what to do in the event of an emergency. Tips from police applied to the visually impaired, along with those who can see.

Kim McEachirn works at the Clovernook Center. Before the attacks, he walked to work by himself with no worry.

"I am totally blind. Since 1993, I lost my vision to glaucoma," McEachim said. "Lately I have been getting a ride in and I've been getting a ride home, or I've had somebody walk with me part way home from work."

The call for extra safety comes after four people were recently robbed in separate attacks. One woman was on her way home from the grocery store when she was robbed and the other was forced into the back seat of her car by her attacker. The two additional attacks were on Clovernook employees, who have visual impairments. A man was robbed of his wallet across the street from the center and a woman had her purse stolen while walking by the nearby McDonalds on Hamilton Avenue.

"It (the crime) really did shatter the sense of security of our employees and consumers," Chris Faust, president and CEO of Clovernook said. "I think the concerning part is that it hasn't been consistent. With some of the other crimes that have happened in the area, some may involve a few individuals, some maybe isolated, so it doesn't seem if there is a pattern to it."

McEachirn now carries an alert button, which he purchased for $12 at a local retailer.

"It does give me peace of mind," he said. "If I have enough reaction time, I can set off the alert and that alert can draw good attention or scare off an attempted robbery situation."

Police said so far, they've made three arrests in the attacks on the two elderly women. They are building cases against suspects who may be involved in the attacks on the Clovernook employees, but no arrests have been made.

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