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OTR shootings outpace 2022 numbers, neighborhood now tops list for shootings this year

Two early morning shootings bring OTR's total to 12
OTR Deadly Shooting
Posted at 10:03 PM, May 25, 2023

CINCINNATI — Two early morning shootings in Over-the-Rhine have pushed the neighborhood to the top of the list for shootings in Cincinnati this year.

At around 4:30 a.m. Thursday, Cincinnati police said they found a 29-year-old man dead on the corner of East Elder and Hamer Streets. CPD did not release his name Thursday. WCPO learned another shooting happened a few hours earlier just a short walk away.

Police confirmed a man was shot in Goose Alley off Green Street at around 1:30 a.m. Officers did not find a victim when they arrived, but approximately 30 minutes later a man admitted himself to UC Medical Center with a gunshot wound. Police said his injury was non-life threatening.

"I started in District 4, and at the time District 4 went all the way down to Liberty Street, so this very area that we're talking about — that Hamer Street, McMicken area — right there was a very troubled area back in 1987 and it's never gotten any better," said FOP president Dan Hils.

In the past decade, OTR has seen growth and improvement. The city has worked with 3CDC to develop new housing and businesses on and around Main Street, as well as to introduce community engagement sessions and new safety plans. One of those plans is the Main Street Pop-Up Program, which aims to fill nearly 30 vacant storefronts and, in turn, deter loitering and potential crime.

3CDC said it will start accepting applications from local entrepreneurs next week.

But Hils said some pockets of the neighborhood, like the area between Findlay and Liberty streets where both of Thusday's shootings occurred, have long been ignored and something needs to change.

"Main Street and other places have received a lot of attention, some gentrification," Hils said. "That area there remains very run down."

Data shows OTR consistently ranks among the top neighborhoods for crime, including shootings.

By this time last year, there were 10 shootings reported by the community council. 2023 has already surpassed that, with 12 as of Thursday.

In addition to blight in certain areas of OTR, Hils said he believes there are two other reasons that are likely driving the crime.

"If some bad guys come of age, some bad guys get released from jail, all these things can come together at any one time," Hils said. "But there's no denying that more police officers on the street reduces crime. So while we are terribly, terribly short of police officers, it's not shocking that there is more assaults on the streets, more shootings on the street."

Hils said the neighborhood, and ones similar to it, need more patrols on the streets, but right now, CPD is struggling to provide them.

The agency is nearing a critical shortage.

The ideal number of officers for CPD to have is 1,059, according to Chief Theresa Theetge. Right now, CPD data shows there are 957 officers.

"Cincinnati has a lot of high crime areas, very concentrated areas," Hils said. "I think we need every police officer we have and we should find a way to find some more."

3CDC tells WCPO it has projects planned for areas between Findlay and Liberty streets.

If you've walked or driven down Vine Street, you might have noticed 3CDC signs on one of the 17 vacant, boarded-up buildings. The developer said it bought the block out and will be renovating them into 88 mixed-income housing units called Findlay Flats, almost half of which will be affordable.

3CDC said it hopes to begin construction by the end of the year. That's the same goal date 3CDC hopes to begin work on a new community center at Findlay Playground.

Affordable housing project August Flats is set to be completed in a few months.

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