Over-The-Rhine no longer most dangerous neighborhood in US

Published: Oct. 5, 2010 at 2:52 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 5, 2010 at 12:53 PM EDT
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By Stefano DiPietrantonio – bio |email|Facebook

OVER-THE-RHINE, OH (FOX19) - There are times when falling from the number one spot in a survey is a good thing, especially when it's a list of the most dangerous neighborhoods in America.

Last year, Over-The-Rhine was number one. And this year, it's listed at number 24.

People who live and work there are happy to lose the number one ranking, but when the OTR Chamber Of Commerce pressed the man who wrote both surveys, he declined to reveal where he got the information or get specific about it.

OTR has seen several violent crimes over the last four weeks, but when residents were asked what they thought about the survey, they didn't place a whole lot of stock in it.

"I have lived in Over-The-Rhine for seven years," said former suburbanite, Christina Baita, who said until people have lived in the city, they shouldn't judge.

"And they don't understand," Baita said. "They come down here, they see the way some of these people dress, maybe the way they talk and they assume that that is a dangerous place."

Baita said that survey just doesn't add-up.

"My son and I walk to the library," she said. "We walk to museums, art galleries, functions downtown, and we feel completely safe all the time."

"We've identified it's less than three-tenths of one-percent is causing 75-percent of problems," said Greg Baker with Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV).

"About 70 I would say to 80 percent of those folks that are committing those crimes are not from Over-The-Rhine, they don't live in Over-The-Rhine," said Brian Tiffany, OTR Chamber President.

That's the good news about what's happening there, he said. And as for OTR's so-called improved ranking on that survey, "We don't acknowledge his survey, we think that his research is extremely flawed," Tiffany said. "It uses very outdated data."

So, when Over-The-Rhine dropped from worst in the country to number 24 this year, Tiffany was unimpressed.

"We don't consider it a legitimate, a legitimate survey quite frankly," he said.

"It was just a mess," said Jay Rodgers with Joe's Diner in OTR. "Those numbers were definitely skewed."

Rodgers just opened Joe's Diner on Sycamore Avenue in Over-The-Rhine.

"Every day we're busy," Rodgers said. "Lunch we're busy, in the evenings we're busy, late nights on the weekends we're busy, it's been great!"

Rodgers said you can't open a new business based on a survey written by someone who's never even stepped-foot on the streets here in Over-The-Rhine.

"I'm already invested in Over-The-Rhine," Rodgers said. "I have Mick's Social Lounge over on 1203 Main Street and it was just an eyesore, so I felt like we needed to do something, I'm always saying, 'what we need to do.' so I decided to do it."

Rodgers said crime happens in every city, so you can't judge Cincinnati based on one neighborhood.

"Look at the city of Philadelphia, PA," he said. "They were number one for murder, that doesn't stop people from going to see the Liberty Bell."

Tiffany said Over-The-Rhine is going on a 38-month consecutive, double-digit decline in crime stats. So, despite what you read and hear he said, they are making progress.

Seventy percent of the 200 condominiums built in the last four years are sold or under contract right now.

So, is their work done? "No," Tiffany said. But he said they are finally turning a corner.

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