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Does Mount Washington need a police substation? Some residents say yes, CPD numbers say no

Posted at 5:00 PM, Mar 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-26 19:24:12-04

CINCINNATI — Mount Washington residents are calling for increased police presence and asking officials to reopen a police substation in their neighborhood after a string of shootings in the area.

The neighborhood used to have a police substation until about 10 years ago. Neighbors like Kim Kempke said they've seen an uptick in crime since then.

"Sometimes it feels like the wild, wild west because there aren't enough patrol officers in the Mount Washington area," she said.

Last month, a surveillance camera recorded a stray bullet going through the window of a Mount Washington home. It's one of the events that have neighborhood residents like Betsy Eicher concerned.

"It makes me feel very sad to hear that there are random shootings on the streets that I used to walk to school on or play with friends and visit friends," she said.

Kempke volunteers with the neighborhood watch and said crime has gotten worse.

"If we're hearing gunshots, we want to have somebody out here," she said.

But the numbers tell a different story. Data from the Cincinnati Police Department from the last six months show that Mount Washington has considerably less crime compared to nearby neighborhoods like Oakley, Hyde Park and Madisonville.

Of the 146 reported crimes in Mount Washington, only six were considered violent crimes, according to the CPD data. In fact, of the top 20 most populated neighborhoods in Cincinnati, Pleasant Ridge was the only one that reported less crime than Mount Washington.

City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld said the data are just part of the puzzle.

"The data is important, but it's not the totality of it, because if someone has a near miss or if something happens to someone and they don't report it, it's not then part of that inventory or portfolio of data," he said.

Police say the Mount Washington substation is largely unnecessary as officers now use in-car computers.

Eicher said she appreciates the work of the police, but she'd like to see an increased presence in the neighborhood and faster response time.

"Even though they don't need to go into a substation to use a computer, it's a spot for them in between calls where they could be close by," she said.

Last week, Sittenfeld called on police and the city manager to look into the data and consider a plan of action. His motion is set for a vote next week.

Eicher hopes it will spark change.

"If there were more police presence in the area, it would be a deterrent and we can stop the crime statistics from getting worse," she said.