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Residents Raise Prostitution Concerns Following Murder of Woman
CINCINNATI (Angenette Levy) -- Several residents voiced concerns about prostitution in Over-the-Rhine at a police town hall meeting Thursday night hours after a woman who police said worked as a prostitute was murdered.
Jessica Revelee, 24, was found shot on McMicken Ave. near Ravine St. before 2:30 a.m. Revelee's adoptive parents said they hadn't seen her in some time.
They took her in when she was 12 years old. She was a straight A student at Colerain High School. But when she turned 18, she didn't finish high school and began using drugs, including heroin, her mother said.
Revelee has a long criminal history that includes arrests for heroin possession, prostitution, theft and possession of drug abuse instruments. Some of the charges were dismissed.
"I've watched this thing evolve, even with all of our efforts, culminating last night in the apparent killing of a prostitute," said Tony Walsh, a longtime resident of Over-the-Rhine. Walsh said prostitution has been a problem for years in his neighborhood and it appears to be getting worse. He said he's witnessed pimps mistreating young women on his street.
Vanessa Sparks who lives in the area told police that she clothed and fed Jessica.
"I really didn't get the impression that Jessica really even wanted to be out there the way she was. I just really don't think she could help it at a certain point," Sparks said.
She said Jessica was polite and kept to herself.
Chief Jeffrey Blackwell hosted the town hall meeting so he could listen to residents' concerns. He said he wants the police department to be more proactive and has plans to reduce crime. In the Central Business District and District One, which includes OTR and The West End, Blackwell plans to increase walking and bike patrols. He also wants to set up a Citizens on Patrol group in The West End.
Blackwell and other members of the police command staff said prostitution is a difficult issue to tackle but he vowed to address it.
"Oftentimes the girls don't want help. They don't want out of that life and they're addicted to drugs most of the time. It's really a form of human trafficking," Blackwell said.
Vanessa Sparks hopes something can be done to help women on the street before another woman loses her life.
"It's a well-known issue but we just need to figure out how to address it as a community," Sparks said.
Police are looking for three armed men and a burgundy Chevrolet Impala with heavily tinted windows seen leaving the area of Revelee's murder.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 513.352.3040
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