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Police update on West McMicken barricades

Tana Weingartner

Cincinnati is halfway through a 90-day program of barricading parts of West McMicken Street in the city to reduce prostitution and human trafficking activities.  

District One Police Captain Michael John said there has been a disruption in the cruising related to the offenses.

"We have seen a shift of the prostitutes, which we fully expected to see," John said.  "It's not a shift that we anticipated to go far, what we have seen is the prostitutes have actually migrated toward the West End.  In response to that, we've had support from our vice section and they've conducted several sting operations with multiple arrests both in the West End and still on McMicken as well."

John also said there has been an increase in prostitution activity at McMicken and Mohawk.  Police have installed a camera to monitor that area and are increasing patrols.  

"What we have just done recently is actually put up some pole cams," John said.  "These cameras record every 15 seconds, they take a picture.  And what we would like to do is we will review those images.  It's not something we can do remotely.  So we actually have to take the camera off of the pole, review it, see what we can see.  If there's vehicular traffic with license plates we'll obviously respond accordingly."

Michael Moore with the city's Department of Transportation and Engineering said the community seems to have accepted the temporary solution.

"Initially we did get a number of calls about some of the inconvenience of folks getting to and from," Moore said.  "But after about a week and after some explanation, we've gotten very few in our office since."

Moore said the city is working on alternatives once the barricades come down in August.  Details about those plans are likely to be released in about a month.

The temporary barricades were installed April 30th to combat increasing prostitution offenses on McMicken Street from Over-the-Rhine through Clifton Heights and University Heights.

The barricades are at three locations on McMicken -- just east of Straight Street at Kottman Street; just west of Freeman Street, east of the Brighton overpass; and east of Race Street in Over-the-Rhine.

(WVXU's Howard Wilkinson contributed to this story.)