Violence, prostitution and drugs among issues covered in CPD meeting

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Cincinnati Police Department officials made their second of five stops Thursday night at an Over-the-Rhine church to talk with community members about cutting crime.

This time, they took their efforts to the central business area, as well as District 1, which includes the areas of Queensgate, the West End, Pendleton and Mt. Adams.

Police presented their crime statistics from 2013 compared to 2012.  In District 1, crime was down nearly 2 percent, and in the central business area, the numbers dropped almost 27 percent.  While that's good news, the problems are far from solved for the people in attendance.

After the meeting, we spoke to Chief Jeffrey Blackwell about the problems he's facing, and the comments from the public.

"In our effort to be transparent, and serve the entire community we'll take that criticism and we'll do a better job," said Blackwell.

Violence, prostitution and drug problems were among the issues highlighted by residents at the meeting.

Last year, the city saw 75 murders, and five more so far in the first nine days of 2014.

"When those homicides happen, those aren't just numbers and victims. Those are my friends  Those are my cousins. Those are my loved ones. I see that hurt every day," said Clarence Williams who works with CIRV.

But, he's not the only one with genuine safety concerns.

"Wherever you have heroin, you have guns," said Rose Christen, who lost her son to a drug overdose while in jail. She sees the drug problem driving violence.

"It's more than too much. They don't have enough of a police force. They need more police force," said Christen.

Over-the-Rhine sits in the middle of what's known as District 1. It was once dubbed America's most dangerous neighborhood. Those spending their days there notice the leftovers of the drug use.

"You're seeing used needles," said Mack Nicely.

He knows there's a drug problem, but, he's also noticed police patrols driving out the criminals.

"They don't stay long if the police come and pull up. Just having a police presence makes a difference," said Nicely.

Blackwell said at the first meeting on Wednesday in Price Hill that he's hopeful he can address the police understaffing and get a recruit class together soon.

There are three more town hall meetings scheduled, for a schedule, click here:

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