23 June 2009

A friend of mine posted a link on facebook to a website that concluded Over-the-Rhine was the most dangerous neighborhood in America? In America!? Over-the-Rhine wasn't even the most dangerous neighborhood in Cincinnati in the past four years!

According to WalletPop.com, Over-the-Rhine, between Liberty Street and Central Parkway, has the most crime per 1,000 people (266.94) than any other area in the United States. The insurance website collected data compiled by NeighborhoodsScout.com, which gathers FBI data from 2005, 2006 and 2007 submitted by all 17,000 local law enforcement agencies and from that came up with the highest predicted rates of violent crime in America. Yeah, PREDICTED.

A couple of points:

1) In 2006 and 2007 the most dangerous neighborhood in Cincinnati wasn't Over-the-Rhine. That distinction went to Walnut Hills which outpaced Over-the-Rhine in just about every crime stat--including homicides. Over-the-Rhine hasn't been the most dangerous neighborhood in Cincinnati since 2005.

2) These websites compile numbers only to make predictions and their methods seem faulty. Is crime in O-T-R? Heck yeah it is but in all of my years of ever being down there during all parts of the day and night nothing has ever happened to me or my friends or family. NOTHING!

The Cincinnati Enquirer gobbled the story up and an onslaught of racist comments followed. The problem with an erroneous story like O-T-R being the most dangerous neighborhood in America (beating out areas in cities like Miami, Baltimore and Chicago--places infamous for rates of crime so high Cincinnati looks like an utopia in comparison) gives people in Cincinnati another reason not to care about the heart of the city. It has been further demonized in the eyes of the outsiders. No one wants to care and it's that apathy that will bring Cincinnati to its demise will continue on and on and on and on...

I have plenty of faith in the people on the front lines in the city--the people who fight to win the community back from the crime that wants to consume every crevice it can. Everyone in the city and everyone in O-T-R aren't welfare receiving, ignorant, illiterate, unwed mothers or dope dealing, white t-shirt wearing high school dropouts with mouths full of gold. Families, hard working people, and young professionals reside there. If there is anyone who will ruin an area like Over-the-Rhine and Cincinnati, it will be the suburbanites who do their dirty deeds in Over-the-Rhine and the suburbanites who want to ignore the problem, add to the problem, or destroy the "problem" which, to them, is the area all together. Ignorance and apathy will destroy a community far greater than anything else.

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