OTR revitalization bringing lower crime rate, numbers say

OVER THE RHINE, OH (FOX19) - In the last few years, Over-The-Rhine has received a bad rap for being a violent neighborhood.  At one time, it was ranked as the most dangerous neighborhood in America.

Following Thursday's triple shooting, you might think things aren't that different.

"We don't have this kind of crap in North Carolina.  We have it, but it don't be in the city like this.  It was a little scary," said Melvin Eskew, a witness to the shooting.

However, officials with the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence say the numbers speak for themselves.

"In 2012, there actually were 17 persons shot in Over-The-Rhine, compared to 12.  That's as of May 21st," said S. Gregory Baker, CIRV's executive director.

Those numbers do not include Thursday's shootings.

With so much revitalization going on in one of Cincinnati's most historic neighborhoods, more people are coming to enjoy the area.

"We come down to Findlay Market fairly frequently," said Mike Sauer of North Bend.

He added, "But, this is our first time in this section.  We came up Vine Street and we hit this area immediately.  We could tell a lot's changed here.  But then we're looking for a place to park, and we kind of made a right, and got into some parts where we probably didn't want to stop and park."

He says there are a few places he still wouldn't walk after dark.  His wife says things are still questionable, even though there are improvements going on.

"When you get away from this section right here and get up a little further, and a little further to the right, it's a little scarier, a little more rundown.  But, they are doing some renovations, it looks like," said Teresa Sauer.

But CIRV is trying to change that.

Based on last year's violence stats, they targeted OTR as one of five neighborhoods to work on right now.  To cut the violence, they're turning to a three-part plan.

"There is an effort involved to address the shootings and violence that's occurred in Cincinnati.  It's a partnership.  It's a partnership among law enforcement, service providers, and community members," added Baker.

As part of that plan, Baker told FOX19 they want community members to deliver their "moral voice message."  They want to let people know what is, and isn't, acceptable in their neighborhoods.

Aside from OTR, the other four neighborhoods targeted by CIRV right now are Avondale, East Price Hill, the West End and Walnut Hills.

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