03 April 2008


A few weeks ago, I had started a post about the decline in crime in downtown, but I never got around to posting it, because I wanted to find some links to statistics which I never found the time to do. Then, as bad luck would have it, a neighbor was held up at gunpoint Sunday. Then Monday, some dummy was shooting a gun in the Washington Park gazebo, and later in the day doing the same at 12th Street. Fortunately, no one was hurt in these incidents.

The hold up of our neighbor, happened at night at 13th and Republic. This corner has been a problem for many many years. In the 90's I witnessed a terrible incident here, and in 2001 Timothy Thomas was shot a few yards away.

Here is a 2006 photo of a memorial to a shooting victim at this corner:

Despite how real the danger is today, I still think it is improved from just a few years ago. Some people give credit to the crime reduction to the Sheriff or to the Cincinnati Police Vortex unit, however, I really think the decline has come as problem buildings have been vacated either of residences or businesses.

Glossinger's, which was for many years located at 12th and Vine, is now occupied by MiCa. In addition to cheap liquor, Glossinger's was the kind of place that sold glass tubes and Chore Boys, which are apparently needed when you smoke crack. The neighborhood is clearly improved with Glossinger's gone.

However, some streets are now so vacant of residents that we lack the inherent safety that come with crowds and eyes on the street. One of the reasons 13th and Republic remains dangerous is because vacant structures or vacant land stand at all four corners. Model Management is nearing completion of their rehab of the building shown in the photo above, and hopefully that will help.

Generally though, the types of crimes being committed is changing. Notably, burglary has declined. This post discusses why burglaries are on a long-term steady national decline.

They believe the decline is partly because everyone already has a TV and used ones are cheap. I remember the time when car stereos were being stolen out of cars a lot. I can't remember that happening now for maybe 10 years. Is it because stereos are plentiful? Part of it is technology. People got home security systems, and car alarms. Stereos started being made removable, then with removable faces. Then CDs were being stolen. Soon people won't be using CDs anymore, they will have all their MP3s and podcasts on their phone or Ipod, which they keep with them. And thus the crimes must be straight-on confrontation hold-up instead of a break-in, because people will carry the value with them. But even this is getting less profitable, as people carry less and less cash.

Retailers are also at risk, especially if they deal in a lot of cash, like the corner store. Security systems may help here, but generally safety should increase with increased foot traffic and more eyes. Do any stores refuse to take cash? I think that might be the route I would take if I had such a store.

Come to think of it, I haven't heard many car alarms lately. Have they become a thing of the past?


Julie said...

What I've noticed is a lot of the things I've seen happen recently-- my corner has had a string of incidents recently-- aren't making the news. Someone got shot on 13th and Main and ran and collapsed in front of Old St. Mary's-- not on the news. The driveby last Thursday didn't make the news. I was held up at gunpoint-- no one picked up on it. I can't figure out if OTR crime isn't newsworthy anymore, or if there are arrangements that are silencing reporters or what.

I think car alarms may have become a thing of the past simply because they've always been so sensitive and people ignore them.

CityKin said...

I don't want to diminish the seriousness of having a gun pointed at you. I just re-read my post, and I think I may have done that. I hope you are OK. I definitely exercise caution anywhere on 13th Street.

Anonymous said...

Julie, you have my condolences for your experience also.

VisuaLingual said...

The possible un- or underreporting of these incidents is all the more reason for them to have blog coverage... Even if it happens to be redundant, at least more perspectives are out there, which can only be a good thing.

Joe Wessels said...

It's a scary time down here, I think. Not in my nearly four years living in our building have I worried as much as I have lately. I'm not sure what to do about it - other than move, which I really don't want to do - but family and friends keep asking me if an emergency room visit is going to be the wake-up call I need. Meanwhile, I dream of another Vortex Unit crackdown in the worst way.

Julie said...

Citykin-- Oh, you didn't at all. I'm definitely okay. Parts of 13th are fine-- generally, my block seems OK-- but lately, it just hasn't been. That makes me incredibly sad, as I really love my apartment, love my neighbors, and love having people TO my apartment.

Joe and visuallingual: You're both right. Another vortex unit and blog coverage might just be what we need.

Dave-- thank you. It was back in November, but I admit I'm still a little nervous.

Do any of you go to safety sector meetings? I went to one back in November, a few days after I got held up, at the urging of my property manager. The only way we'll get our message across is to deliver it to the people who can do something about it. The past few have coincided with traveling for me, but I plan to go to April's for my sector.

Anonymous said...

My husband works on Main Street in that vicinity and witnessed the shooting last Thursday. It was reported by the media as a driveby, although from what he saw there was no car involved. He reported what he saw to the police, and to this day no one has contacted him to follow up.

It seems that there has been a definite upswing in violent crime since the sheriff left. I also long for another vortex crackdown. It couldn't happen too soon.

Anonymous said...

As much as I support the cops on the street; I think we need a change of leadership in the CPD. Crime management seems to be the attitude at the top. When Streicher gave back the $2M (for walking patrols), his reasoning was, crime's down,save it for next year. What bothers me is, crime wasn't eradicated, the chief simply decided it was good enough and backed off. As a resident of the urban core (Clifton Heights), I can certainly empathize with the problems OTR continues to have; and would encourage those who live in the downtown basin to hang in there and be smart about where you go and when you go there and stay involved. It's the only way thing will continue to improve.

PS Don't forget to oppose CityLink; their plan is to import convicted felons from the prison system, to live in the as yet unbuilt facility on Bank Street. The VOA currently has a similar program for sex offenders and once they are out of the program a large number of them end up staying here in Cincinnati.

Anonymous said...

I must admit that this post makes me very nervous about moving to OTR this summer. I worry more about my wife than about myself.
Since a lot of the problem areas you have all been speaking of are so close to where we'll be I'm must say I'm more worried now than I was before.
I had already planned on being very careful and I've already told my wife that I really don't want her to ever walk around the neighborhood by herself, especially at night.
I wonder if the recent lack of media coverage on these issues is due to pressure from developers and investors on the news stations asking them to not report the bad stuff anymore?

Anonymous said...

Another question I wanted to bring up is whether or not everyone thinks that crime is going to continue to decline as more and more people begin moving in to the neighborhood, especially with the prospect of the streetcars passing through OR do you think crime is going to get worse as current residents in OTR become angry with the sudden influx of middle and upper-middle class citizens into the neighborhood?
My obvious hope is that the area is going to continue to get cleaned up and more liveable. I mean just considering that I would have never considered even driving through OTR just a few short years ago and now I'm buying a condo on one of the most notorious streets (republic) is mind blowing.
If you look at it that way I suppose things are looking pretty good. However, if people are still getting shot, held up, beat up, and robbed at gun point right outside my windows is it really progress at all?
I'm a firm believer in fighting for change and thats why I'm willing to take a chance in OTR, but are we being overly optimistic about the neighborhood? Just food for thought...

CityKin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CityKin said...

I would love to discuss this stuff in more detail if you want to send me an email: mike@citykin.com I live right around the corner from those condos you are considering.

I don't think there is any less reporting of these incidents. Really it doesn't make the news unless someone actually gets shot, and even then it may be just a short blurb in the paper.

Generally, I do think crime is much much less than it was, and I do think it will get better. However, that is small comfort to the person who gets a gun stuck in their face.

I do live here with my family. I find that using common sense combined with knowing as many of my neighbors as possible has kept me relatively safe in OTR.

I noticed that three more buildings at this corner have applied for building permits. When these are finished being rehabbed, I believe that corner will finally improve.

Also, I still walk through this corner. In fact I just came through there a few minutes ago.