CINCINNATI — Cincinnati police report a 45% decline in shootings in Over-The-Rhine within the last six months. Officers credit tips from the public, the department more aggressively tracking down shooting suspects and private property managers tackling problems on their own.
CPD detectives shared surveillance video of a woman shooting a handgun near a group of men in the 100 block of E. McMicken Avenue last Thursday. Even though no victim was found, officers hope to identify her and file charges.
"Whether they hit them or not, we're spending a lot of resources trying to investigate them," said Capt. Matt Hammer, District One Commander. "These folks should be really well aware that we're spending a lot of time trying to develop the information that we need to bring them into the court process to arrest them and to assist in their prosecution. That matters."
District One's ongoing crackdown on gun crime includes at least 12 seizures and 11 arrests by their Violent Crimes Task Force in the last six months. It mirrors a trend stunning to homeowners in OTR.
CPD statistics showed a significant drop in shootings in the area since January.
"I wouldn't have guessed that but it makes sense when you pull all those factors together that it is going down," resident Derek Brancheau said.
The only two shootings since May 15 happened near 14th and Clay, according to CPD stats. Tips from the public helped investigators find the car involved in one that happened April 24, police said. However, detectives still need help finding the person who fired shots.
"It's good to see that data and that trend," Brancheau said. "I think I suffer like a lot of folks from just the confirmation bias. The two (shootings) you showed me on that graph were near my residence.
Like others, Brancheau wanted to know what is fueling change.
"It's coordination," Hammer said. "A lot of small steps by a lot of folks."
He pointed out properties managed by POAH Communities and the impact changes to their buildings had on violence happening right outside their gates.
"From the perspective of gun violence, this has been the most significant problem spot in the City of Cincinnati for a long time," Hammer said.
The company installed sophisticated cameras, brighter lights, new locks on gated alley entrances and even posted signs with phone numbers to contact management in the event of an emergency.
"This isn't on many buildings," Hammer said.
In a statement, POAH Communities Vice President of Regional Operations Evelyn Starks-Spicer said the company is proud to be part of CPD's ongoing crime-fighting PIVOT strategy. In those areas that PIVOT has been deployed, the reduction in gun violence is even greater - with a 70% drop in shootings over the last 6 months.
"Commander Hammer worked with our team on a security assessment of our properties," Starks-Spicer said. "That thorough effort led to a variety of security enhancements on our properties including the installation of security cameras, lighting upgrades, and the addition of security guards. We are thrilled that these ongoing partnerships, realigned security efforts, and the daily work of POAH's Community Impact Team alongside our residents has played a pivotal role in improving the quality of life for everyone involved."
Police see multiple property owners doing the same.
"I'm really hopeful that many of the folks in the community will see this as an opportunity to double down on their efforts because we're not there yet," said Hammer. "There are still many problems that need to be addressed here."
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