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Over-the-Rhine meeting to reduce crime brings neighbors, police together to find solutions

Over-the-Rhine neighborhood meeting to reduce violence
Posted at 11:26 PM, Jul 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-30 02:30:16-04

CINCINNATI — The latest in a series of meetings held to combat crime in several Cincinnati neighborhoods continued Thursday night – this time focusing on issues in Over-the-Rhine.

The meeting’s main focus was to find a way to make the area a safer place for the children who live there – a concern some residents said they have had for years.

“These kids are growing up, and this is the norm for them,” Over-the-Rhine resident John Donaldson said. “Seeing dead bodies, seeing people OD.”

City data shows 19 reported shootings in OTR so far in 2021 – three of them fatal. There have been at least three shootings in the month of July.

“The problems we have around Grant Park, I’m 100% confident we can deal with them,” Donaldson said. “We can, but we need the city at the table.”

Residents said meetings like the one Thursday night have happened throughout the years, but they haven’t seen much change. They want more police in the area – saying there are times when residents are the ones who are putting a stop to crimes.

“Those concerns are not forgotten. Not ignored," Cincinnati Police Captain Matthew Hammer said. "There are times when there’s maybe not enough communication in the middle to understand that’s the case, but it’s our goal to be there when people call.”

Along with more police, OTR neighbors want to see more positive activities for children in the area. All attendees including city leaders present at the meeting agreed that changes will take time – and a team effort coming from the community, police and the justice system.

“A lot of it comes down to the court system and the police can be out there getting to know the community and arresting people, but if the courthouse is playing catch and release and just letting everyone back out and sentencing people to probation instead of jail, then what’s the purpose of us adding all these police services?” Cincinnati City Councilperson Betsy Sundermann said.