New streetlights bring hope to Hawaiian Terrace

Posted at 7:55 PM, Jan 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-12 23:55:34-05

CINCINNATI -- Kamisha Webster wanted to take her neighborhood back.

Hawaiian Terrace in Mount Airy didn't feel safe, she said. Between working two jobs to support herself and her two kids, Webster had to come home every night worried about the gunfire that had become all too common.

So she organized a residents' council, trying to improve safety. And Hawaiian Terrace was flooded with a sign of their work Tuesday, when new streetlights were officially turned on.

"Hawaiian Terrace, filled with scores of children and with a very high crime rate, had no lighting at night," Vice Mayor David Mann said.

Webster said the change is already noticeable.

"It feels so good at nighttime when I roll down and I can actually see people out there and stuff like that," Webster said. "It's just so much better."

Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac said, since WCPO's October report, department staff have spent more than 200 hours in Hawaiian Terrace.

"We have also made some significant arrests -- people that we know are responsible for some of the violence," Isaac said. "We have recovered over four handguns in this community and over 56 grams of cocaine and 78 grams of heroin."

Those numbers give some hope to Webster and neighborhood kids.

"It's safer, and there is no more shootings going on, and I just like the street lights," said 10-year-old Jamal Fields.

Next year, Bahama Terrace just north of Hawaiian Terrace is slated to get a major street renovation, including new lighting.

"In the summertime, it gets dark around 7:30, 8 -- they need lights out here for the park for the kids," said Donta Hightower. 

He also said seeing more officers would help make Bahama Terrace a better place to live.

"I would like to see more patrols, because I got two kids and they like to come out here and play," Hightower said.

Chief's Advice

Chief Isaac says there are a few keys to keeping your neighborhood safe:

Get to know your neighbors.

Be a good witness. Police don't always know what's happening if you don't tell them.

Organize your own neighborhood watch. Check out the Block Watcher Manual and the United Way's Neighborhood Watch List.


WCPO's Carol Williams contributed to this report.