Increased police presence, parking restrictions among steps to improve OTR safety

Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 4:38 PM EDT

CINCINNATI (WXIX) - The plan to “interrupt the violence” in Over-the-Rhine following the Aug. 7 shooting of nine people in the area is getting mixed responses from those who live and work in OTR.

On Thursday, Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval, Cincinnati Police Chief Teresa Theetge and Interim Cincinnati City Manager John Curp announced new measures on Main Street in OTR that go into effect this weekend.

Cincinnati police will have an increased presence on Main Street, including SWAT members.

Parking will be prohibited on Main Street from 8 p.m. Friday to 7 a.m. Saturday. There will also be increased lighting.

The parking restrictions will prohibit drivers from parking cars and blaring loud music. They are also aimed at deterring pedestrians from gathering in large groups on the street, which can create “dangerous situations,” according to Pureval. Diminished crowds will in turn improve sight lines for police officers.

>> 2 suspects charged, 1 at-large in OTR shooting <<

Lemuel Hogu has been living in OTR for the past few years.

He said an uptick in police presence is fine, but no parking on Main Street is “unnecessary.”

“That’s really excessive,” Hogu said of the measures announced Thursday. “A lot of businesses close around 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., so if no one is using that space, what’s the problem with someone sitting there? You have to think about it. This is literally called Main Street, so a lot of businesses and people are down here.”

One of those businesses is Urban Transit Shop, which sits next door to Mr. Pitifuls, where the Aug. 7 shooting occurred.

Carl Hunt opened Urban Transit Shop a little over a year ago and says shootings are second nature in the area, but the most recent shooting has impacted business.

“Anytime something like that happens, it’s a decrease in traffic,” explained Hunt. “We have been really slow this week, hardly any walk-ins. It’s just a whole different vibe down the street. It’s just not as many people walking around, which means it’s not as many customers.”

Scott Ford, who lives a few blocks away from where the shooting happened, said the changes coming for the weekend should have happened before nine people were shot.

“I think we’re on the verge of even more deadly violence in the country because of the culture where we stand today, and if we don’t take action swiftly and including our local police department by hiring more officers, putting more officers on these sidewalks, we will see more numbers and we can’t afford that,” Ford said.

Cincinnati leaders have not said if the changes will be permanent, or just for this weekend.

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