What Kind of Crackdown?
The Cincinnati Police Department has been noticeably more aggressive in Over-the-Rhine in the past month, with 1,000 arrests reported so far to date. At a recent press conference the police announced about 20 guns had been seized. While that’s progress, we want to know about the hundreds of misdemeanor arrests involved. We’re hearing reports that many of the 1,000 arrests have been for such trivial offenses as littering, jaywalking, even spitting — hardly the kind of crime that has made Cincinnati so violent in recent years. Brian Garry uses the term “ethnic cleansing,” arguing that what’s really underway is an effort to push poor people out of the neighborhood to make way for upper-income tenants in proposed new condos. The arrest of Berta Lambert, a Streetvibes vendor and photographer, certainly doesn’t speak to a crackdown on violence; Berta is a gentle soul who loves Over-the-Rhine.
In the next few weeks CityBeat will have a detailed report on exactly what kind of crackdown the police are conducting. We’re waiting on the police department to turn over the raw data. We’ve asked for copies of every arrest report in Over-the-Rhine since April 10. We’re told the process of redacting social security numbers means a delay of about two weeks.
— Gregory Flannery