Saturday, October 18, 2003

Girl, 14: Serial attacker

No joke

A 14-year-old girl is one of several teens who have gotten away for months with making unprovoked attacks, threats and anti-white racial slurs along Corryville's Short Vine.

"She just walks up to people in the middle of the street and socks them in the eye," said Cincinnati Police Officer Alex Hasse, who patrols that university-area strip. This one-girl crime wave has been arrested often. She has six warrants against her, the most serious a felonious assault on Oct. 10 for punching a woman in the eye as she left Sudsy Malone's.

Police should arrest her and this time juvenile court judges need to get her off the streets before she or her warped buddies seriously injure somebody or try worse crimes. Someday they might pick on the wrong victim and get more pain than they ever bargained for. Now, they think it's all one big hilarious joke. A surveillance camera at Acme Body Piercing didn't catch the Oct. 10 attack, but it did record the girl and her friends re-enacting the attack and laughing their heads off. They didn't even flee the scene.

The girl was in the pack in Corryville last June when Councilman Jim Tarbell got punched trying to break up an attack. That assailant got off with just community service. People on Short Vine know the 14-year-old girl by name. They know where she hangs out and who she hangs with.

This isn't a case of trying to find Saddam Hussein hiding out among homeboys in Tikrit or searching for Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan's mountainous no-man's land. It's about cracking down on an out-of-control 14-year-old and her friends who think they own a street and can victimize anyone they choose.

Police are reluctant to arrest such teens at home where irresponsible parents or neighbors can whip up crowds against police. You won't find it spelled out in the Collaborative Agreement on police reforms, but anti-cop attitudes are a huge barrier to safer neighborhoods. Cops can't clean up crime unless all pitch in - neighbors, witnesses, judges, businesses, victims. Some teens throw rocks at cars on Short Vine. Unless people stop and press charges, nothing changes. A 14-year-old female crime wave is what you get if teens think they can commit outrageous acts and not suffer serious punishment.

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