CINCINNATI — Every year across the nation, police use cookouts and fun to bond with communities they serve.
For some people, this National Night Out event with police engaging the community is more personal.
Frequent gunfire is pulling extra police patrols to the West End, where it has the second-most shootings among Cincinnati neighborhoods.
On Monday night, someone shot two teenagers – the 28th and 29th victims in the West End this year.
The West End's 26th shooting this year wounded a 13-year-old and an 18-year-old on Liberty Street near the Stanley Rowe community.
"That is horrific," said Donnell Pope, a vendor. "Words don't describe the pain that I feel, once again, for my nephews, my nieces. That's who they are."
Cincinnati crime statistics say shootings are down compared to 2020. Homicide, rape and burglary are at a four-year low.
However, four mothers in public housing in the West End told WCPO their children cannot go out after dark. One mother clams she was grazed by a bullet this summer. Another hears gunfire every other night.
All four mothers interviewed want transfers to safer apartments. But, so far, they said, the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority has not fulfilled that.
The CMHA said the complex "has not seen an increase or received many safety complaints from residents in the last four months" and have just "two recent transfer requests."
Pope, who grew up nearby in what used to be Lincoln Court Apartments, worries about his mother, who lives across the street. But, it's her teenaged neighbors that brings his business trailer here three days a week.
"I want to educate them," Pope said. "I don't want to run from them. They out here all day every day."
Pope wants to help everyone live.
"I got a lot of young brothers come over," Pope said. "They may need a few dollars. I ain't going to give it to you like that. But I will help give you something to sell."
Pope sells socks, T-shirts, incense oils, water and other items.
"As long as I'm here, I'm going to always voice that opinion," Pope said. "I'm going to try to bring them in with a little bit of love."