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Renewed Effort To Push Out Prostitution And Drug-Dealing In OTR

Bill Rinehart
Blight is one of the major concerns of residents who are trying to reduce crime in the Grant Park area.

Over-the-Rhine residents are putting drug dealers and prostitutes on notice as they partner with police in a renewed effort to clean-up the area.

OTR resident John Donaldson calls East McMicken Ave's Grant Park the epicenter of violent crime. He organized a block watch and a network of 45 cameras after a dozen shootings last spring. He says, "We've kind of formed these block captains if you will. We attend the same safety meetings with police and we work on the same initiatives."

(from left) OTR residents John Donaldson and Denny Dellinger stand in front of Grant Park, an area they call the epicenter of crime.

On September 2 Donaldson organized a block party with 300-400 people. He says his low-income neighbors have made it clear they also want a safer neighborhood.

Denny Dellinger lives in OTR and is an architect. He and his clients are fixing up blighted buildings. He points to one such property diagonal from Grant Park. "This building down the way here with the painted white front is a project that I designed for one of my clients."

Another rehab project involves an apartment building on East Clifton Avenue.


Both Dellinger and Donaldson want police to stay engaged and say it would be nice if there were more events like BLINK which chase criminals away.

Near the School for the Creative and Performing Arts Ben Wissel keeps watch. His building has cameras and he frequently calls neighborhood Cincinnati Police Officer Brendon Rock. Rock welcomes the calls. "If Ben calls ten times in a week at Twelfth and Race and we get zero calls at Twelfth and Vine then the people that move the chess pieces around can adjust what we do accordingly."

Officer Brendon Rock and resident Ben Wissel stand in front of the former 1132 bar at 12th and Race. The owners shut it down after repeated complaints. It's being rehabbed and will reopen.

With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.