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UC officials, police send judges a letter about campus crime

Updated: Thursday, December 5 2013, 11:20 PM EST
CINCINNATI (Larry Davis) -- The President of the University of Cincinnati and the city's new police chief are joining forces to fight crime on and off campus.

Santa Ono and Chief Jeffrey Blackwell have written a letter to local judges. They want the courts to send a clear message to criminals that targeting UC students will be met with severe consequences.

In the letter to Hamilton County Common Pleas Court judges, UC President Santa Ono and Cincinnati police chief Jeffrey Blackwell asked for their help.  They call on the judges to get tough on criminals who target UC students.

"We're not asking them to have different standards in how they try these cases but were just saying the University of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Police Department are aligned and this is a priority for us," President Ono said.

In recent weeks, there have been robberies and a shooting near UC.  Even so, statistics show a 35 percent decrease in violent crime but an increase in property crimes.

Thursday, students spoke out about the safety issue.

While police have increased a uniform and covert presence on and around campus, Chief Blackwell says students can also help in the collaborative fort to improve safety.

Chief Blackwell said, "We're encouraging students to be aware of their surroundings; to understand that this is a very target rich environment because students are often times distracted and we have predatory type criminals that come to an environment like this to commit crimes."

President Ono said, "I will not rest until this becomes an exceedingly safe campus and surrounding area."

UC's President wants to remind students the college has a free shuttle service called Night-Ride.  It's like a cab service operating in a one mile radius of campus.  You can reserve a ride by calling 556-ride.

Here is the entire letter.
Honorable Judge
Hamilton County Common Pleas Court
1000 Main St
Cincinnati, OH 45202

Your Honor,
The University of Cincinnati has partnered with the Cincinnati Police Department to redouble our efforts to reduce crime and promote safety within the Uptown neighborhoods surrounding campus.

We have dramatically increased the number of street lights, funded additional security cameras and hired more than a dozen off-duty police officers to provide additional patrols seven days per week.

Even so, our students continue to be victimized at a troubling rate that Is simply unacceptable.

We need your help. You have the ability to send a clear, forceful and reverberating message to criminals and the broader community that predatory targeting of UC students will have severe consequences. We respectfully ask that you do so whenever possible.

We also want to draw your attention to our new Case Watch program-which provides an enhanced suite of support services to victims within our campus community. In particular, the program will provide victims with transportation to court hearings; education about the process of a criminal case; and assistance with preparing an impact statement.

Additionally, we plan to send a sworn officer from the University's police department to all relevant sentencing hearings to underscore our mission-critical commitment to public safety.

We hope that you will work with us to make the Uptown area an increasingly safe and secure environment for our community members to live, learn and grow. Thank you for your leadership and service to our city and region.

Santa J. Ono                     Jeffrey Blackwell
President                           Chief of Police
University of Cincinnati         Cincinnati Police Department

cc: Joseph T. Deters, Hamilton County Prosecutor

Video HEREUC officials, police send judges a letter about campus crime

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