Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Fighting for a neighborhood



By Jennifer Edwards
Enquirer staff writer

[photo]
Cincinnati Police Chief Tom Streicher (center) stands among Price Hill residents at Tuesday's Price Hill Civic Club meeting at St. William Church. The topic was recent shootings and violence. Members of the Guardian Angels were in attendance (far right).
The Enquirer/STEVEN M. HERPPICH
PRICE HILL - Residents met and marched Tuesday in this Cincinnati neighborhood gripped by crime to show they won't tolerate it ruining their streets.

At a Price Hill community council meeting that packed more than 150 people into the basement of St. William Catholic Church, Cincinnati police listened to concerns and outlined efforts to reduce crime.

Cincinnati Police Chief Tom Streicher urged residents to keep banding together to combat crime.

"I guarantee you as long as I'm here, Price Hill is not going to fall," the chief, who was raised in Price Hill and still lives here, said to applause.

But Streicher also expressed frustration at a society he said too often works against police - families that do not take care of children, courts that return violent offenders to the streets, and jail overcrowding that lets low-level offenders plague neighborhoods.

"People who give birth to their children need to take care of their children," he said.

Crime in Price Hill has been an issue for five to eight years, residents say, but the Sept. 26 shooting death of an Elder High School senior on Glenway Avenue near the school has galvanized the community.

Seton High School officials announced at Tuesday's meeting they are about to invest $15 million in their school.

The plans include a new gym, parking garage and improved entrance. Construction is expected to start early this spring.

"We are not going anywhere," said Susan Gibbons, Seton's principal, as she marched in the pouring rain with about 70 other people before the meeting. "They are going to have to bury me under the gym."

Guardian Angels and Price Hill's Citizens on Patrol gave presentations at the meeting.

The New York-based Angels have been here since June, patrolling Westwood streets and training citizens to fight crime. They were invited by Westwood residents and recently graduated their first local class of nine citizens.

"We are not giving up," said Pete Witte, president of the Price Hill Civic Club. "We are all going to keep fighting and investing and doing what we can to stabilize the neighborhood."

E-mail jedwards@enquirer.com.




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