Roselawn pushes city to address prostitution along Reading Road

Concerns sex trade, drugs could lead to violence
Posted at 6:10 PM, Jan 03, 2017

CINCINNATI -- It's not a new problem along Reading Road. People have complained about prostitution in Roselawn for four or five years.

Their cries are getting louder to solve the problem so human trafficking and drugs don't lead to violence.

Davie Prather said he sees prostitutes when he gets ready to go to work and comes home at night.

"We don't want our home values to go down just like any other neighborhood. Plus, we're trying to raise families and everything, and kids are seeing this kind of behavior," he said.

Cincinnati police have identified three hot spots: Reading at Kenova Avenue, Rosecliff Avenue and Shenandoah Avenue.

Lt. Doug Snider told City Council's Law and Public Safety Committee that undercover surveillance has produced a three-prong plan.

One step involves identifying prostitutes and getting them off the streets into a "change court."

"It’s almost similar to the (Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence) model where they offer alternatives such as treatment, job placement, things like that," Snider said.

Another step is going after customers.

"We arrest the johns, obviously, charge them with the applicable crimes," he said.

The final step is tracking down the pimps.

But business and community leaders think more is needed: They said they see the same faces on the streets every day, and Roselawn Business Association vice president Rod Mosley believes those people need to be out of the neighborhood.

"It’s having an adverse effect.  We see them in the morning when your kids are getting on the bus going to school. We see them in the afternoon when we’re doing our shopping," Mosley said.

Officers make arrests, but residents and police are frustrated that suspects are released after they're booked. Some feel Roselawn has become a forgotten community.

"We need to deal with whoever it is to correct the problem -- if it's the police, the courts, the City Council, whatever is needed, that's what we need because we are in dire straights," community council trustee Carol Smith said.

Councilman Christopher Smitherman, who chairs the Law and Public Safety Committee, said the city will get a handle on the problem so Roselawn can thrive.