Wednesday, May 19, 2004

More police hitting streets

Violence prompts shift from schools

By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

OVER-THE-RHINE - Cincinnati police officers working in schools will be reassigned for the summer to walk beats here and downtown.

Two men were shot to death in Over-the-Rhine within six hours Monday, bringing the city's homicide total to 29 - the same as this time in 2003, a year that ended with 75 killings, a 26-year high. Those deaths followed the killing downtown Thursday of a pizza cook - an apparent random attack a block from the main library.

Details remain to be worked out, but Capt. James Whalen, District 1 commander, said he was notified that his request to have the school resource officers assigned to him for the summer was approved. He did not yet know how many officers that would mean, but he said all of them would be walking areas of downtown and Over-the-Rhine.

He made the request about a month ago, he said, in response to another spate of violence.

"People like to see officers walking the beat," he said.

Monday's victims:

• Antonio Dumas, 28, shot in the head about 10 p.m. at 13th and Vine streets. He was on life support at University Hospital, police said, until he was pronounced dead at 6 a.m. Tuesday.

• George A. Vance, 27, of Burlington, shot on Republic Street, but found around the corner in the 1500 block of Race Street a little after 4 p.m.

Councilman David Pepper, chairman of City Council's Law and Public Safety Committee, urged witnesses to come forward. At the scene of Dumas' death, Night Chief Capt. Kathleen Howard said 50 to 100 people were standing around, yet no one was helpful to police.

"It's been a bad couple of days, and the community can help us," Pepper said. "The best deterrent to crime in a community is a community that steps up."


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