Wednesday, January 28, 2004

West End residents ask for crime relief

By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[IMAGE] Sgt. Lisa Thomas of the Cincinnati Police Department discusses the West End's 2003 homicide statistics at Tuesday's safety summit. Capt. James Whalen listens in the background.
(Meggan Booker photo)
WEST END - Mary Lockett's Dayton Street home in the West End has been broken into five times since Thursday.

The burglars took countless items, including jewelry, china dishes and other family heirlooms. They were even bold enough to smoke half a pack of cigarettes and devour a pot of chili that was sitting on her stove.

"I want to find out why this is happening to me," said Lockett, 57. "Am I going to get my stuff back? And why can't the police control this?"

Questions like Lockett's abounded Tuesday night at St. Joseph's Catholic Church during the first of six monthly safety summits hosted by Cincinnati City Councilman David Pepper. About 50 people braved the cold to discuss crime in the West End.

The goal of the meeting was to explore crime trends in the neighborhood, current police and community strategies to address crime and short- and long-term solutions.

Residents called for more aggressive policing and quicker response to community needs. They even recommended establishing tax incentives for neighborhood businesses to create jobs and training for West End youth.

Dale Mallory, president of the West End Community Council, said prostitution and open-air drug dealing continue to be the biggest problems. He pointed to well-known crack houses on Dayton Street that have been raided multiple times by police.

The Cincinnati Police Department presented an analysis of crime in the neighborhood during 2003. The report showed mixed results.

Capt. James Whalen, commander of District 1, reported that the West End had experienced a 21 percent drop in violent crimes last year. But he quickly added that the West End saw the most murders in the city with nine.

There was some good news for Lockett Police said they arrested one person believed to be involved in the break-ins at her home. They also plan to outfit Lockett's home with an alarm system.

The next safety summit is in Walnut Hills next month.


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