Cincinnati Police Chief James Craig announced a call to action Monday to discuss solutions to end violent crime in the Queen City. The announcement came following a shooting Sunday night that injured five people in Avondale.
"Enough is enough," Chief Craig said Monday.
Craig says the meeting with community members will take place Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the New Friendship Baptist Church at 3212 Reading Road.
"Come to the meeting, come with solutions," Chief Craig urged The Buzz radio listeners Monday morning. "Let's not complain, let's not talk about the past. Let's talk about the here and now."
Craig says he wants to see an active Citizens on Patrol group start up in the neighborhood to help combat crime. Craig says he believes solutions do exist, pointing to the police cadet program starting up as well as a boot camp the department is sponsoring for middle schoolers. He says the first boot camp class recently graduated and another is set to begin in the South Avondale area.
"I want solutions. We don't have all the answers," Chief Craig said. "This is what community policing is all about: working in partnership."
Chief Craig says the department will be ramping up their police presence in the Avondale area by adding more bike, foot, and plain clothes officers on the street. The department will be making use of a grant to pay for the increased oversight which will require overtime pay for the officers.
Craig says they have not determined how long the added patrols will remain in Avondale.
"The individuals out there that think they want to wait me out … don't wait me out," Craig said. "I'm here for the long term. Whether you see us visibly or you don't we'll still be in the area."
The shooting took place near Forest Avenue and Rockdale Avenue around 9:20 p.m. Sunday.
The victims included four young men and a teenage girl between 17 to 21 years old.
"It absolutely is related to a street gang," Chief Craig said. "I'm going to call it what it is."
The girl, who is 17, was shot multiple times and is in the most serious condition of the five victims.
Authorities say no arrests have been made, but two suspects were taken in for questioning.
"Know this," Chief Craig said. "It will stop. We will find you. We will arrest you and you are going to go to jail. It's done."
"The person that pulled the trigger is one of the maggots that I expect to be prosecuted to the fullest extent," Councilman Cecil Thomas said.
Thomas says to ultimately win the battle against violent crime, the city must address the systemic issues at the root of the violence such as poverty.
"It's going to take the community to get angry and no longer tolerate this kind of behavior in order to get the kind of action out of your community to begin to address this problem," he said.
"I should not have to stand here today and talk about five young people shot," Chief James Craig said. "That tells me we haven't succeeded. While I can sit here and statistically talk about a reduction [in violent crime] we need to do more."
"This is not New York, this is not Chicago, this is not Miami, no," Thomas said. "We're not going to have these kinds of random shootings in our area and expect us to just say ‘Oh well, it's happening everywhere else'. Well good, let it happen somewhere else, not here. Simple as that."
Chief Craig says he is urging everyone to come out to the meeting Wednesday to help find solutions that will ‘run the violence epidemic out' of Cincinnati.
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