Mt. Airy leaders vow to take back business district from violent element

Three people shot in eight days
Posted at 10:49 PM, Sep 13, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-13 22:57:35-04

CINCINNATI - Three people shot in eight days in the center of Mt. Airy's business district have residents saying they've had enough.

Some have banded together to stop the violence and revitalize the once thriving business district on Colerain Avenue.

This small business district runs from North Bend Road to Kirby Road - one long block. Business owners want to make it a place people stop and shop instead of drive through.

The Sept. 2 afternoon slaying of 25-year-old Kejuan Master and the wounding of a young woman was the last straw.

"We don't need this violence stuff every day," said Tina Anderson.

The shootings happened in the center of the business district, prompting pleas to city council to better protect residents.

"A lot of them are afraid to go near the business district," Cindy Walsh said at a city council meeting. "Now, they're starting to become afraid of driving through the business district."

Daniel Traicoff is one of many working to change that. He's a business owner and a member of Mt. Airy CURE - Community Urban Redevelopment..

"It has really inspired a lot of our community members to wake up and say, 'What's going on with our business district?'"

A key project is turning vacant land into the Mt. Airy Commons, a neighborhood gathering spot.

"We're repurposing that lot so it's a key community parking lot," said Traicoff.  "It's going to have the first lighted area with cameras."

Popup grillouts have already taken place there with free hot dogs and burgers wrapped in a crime-fighting message.

"A lot of people who sit around and loiter and are suspected of selling drugs, they leave. They walked away because we were there. We made a presence," Traicoff said.

Cincinnati police have diverted resources to curb the shooting spike, which comes as crime in the neighborhood is down.

 "Part of that is because we're doing 'good guy loitering' and because the police have been strategically looking at buildings to target," Traicoff said.

That includes a barber shop that neighborhood leaders want included on the city's list of problem properties.

All those efforts fit into Michael Bane's desire for residents to take back the neighborhood.

"It's just a matter of getting people together," he said.

Residents want three things - more jobs, more things for youth to do and more police walking beats.