CINCINNATI — Two Cincinnati City Councilmembers want to create a multi-agency task force focused on curbing violence in the West End after two people were shot and killed in the neighborhood in the past month.
Councilmembers David Mann and Betsy Sundermann introduced a motion calling for the task force during Cincinnati City Council’s Law and Public Safety Committee meeting Tuesday morning.
The task force would include various members of public entities such as the Cincinnati Police Department, The Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority and the Building Inspections department.
The motion arrived in response to two fatal shootings in the neighborhood. Someone shot and killed 39-year-old Myron Green on Aug. 16 on Linn Street. Less than a month later, authorities found 53-year-old Felisa Tremble shot dead near Linn and West Liberty Streets. No arrests have been made in either case.
Mann has met with residents in the neighborhood to see firsthand the issues people there are facing.
“It’s not a happy street to want to live on," Mann said. “You almost have to take problems as they come to your attention, eat with them block by block, street by street. And I think we’ll learn some things as this task force works on Livingston Street."
There have been more shootings in the West End than any other neighborhood so far this year. The West End has seen 42 shootings in 2020, according to Cincinnati police data. Eight people have been shot and killed.
There have been 31 shootings in Over-the-Rhine and 29 shootings in Avondale, according to Cincinnati police data.
The motion focuses on the area of Livingston Street west of Linn Street. The area has recently experienced “many safety challenges including prostitution, drug dealing and violence,” according to the motion.
There have been 47 calls for service this year to Livingston and Baymiller Streets, according to Cincinnati police data. Calls for service range from breaking and entering, to theft, to felonious assault.
Wendell Walker has lived on Livingston Street for the last two and half years. Although he said he's not afraid, he doesn't feel like his neighborhood is safe.
“(I) see people out here actively using drugs, selling drugs, see prostitution going on,” he said.
Bryan Cannon owns property on Livingston Street and said he has found it hard sell his newly renovated property, especially after it was hit by a bullet.
“At one point I had a gunshot, that still shows evidence over there by the door,” Cannon said. “They look outside and they see the trash, they see the people hanging on the street selling drugs, and then they just don’t want to buy in this area.”
But Walker said he's encouraged by councilmembers coming to area to see what it's like to live there.
“They’ve walked the street, they’ve smelled the stench, so that gives me hope,” Walker said. "If these nuisance issues aren’t addressed. They become bigger issues. People feel emboldened. 'If I can sell weed, I can sell crack, I can sell heroin.' And before you know it, it becomes many many more serious issues.”
The motion offers several solutions to crime in the area, including:
- Divert Livingston Street traffic from Linn Street to Baymiller
- Consider PVO officer to observe Livingston/Linn Street camera for several months
- Add camera at Warner/Livingtston Streets
- Investigate citations for vacant building owners that are in disrepair
- Consider fencing off all building stoops to discourage loitering
- Consider blocking alley off Warner Street
- Ask Port Authority to release property they own for sale/renovation
- Ask city to remove all trash and non-city trash cans and replace with city cans
- Increase patrol of Livingston/Baymiller Streets
- Increase litter patrol and cleanup of streets and alleys.