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Cranley says street car construction responsible for drop in crime rates in Over-the-Rhine
OVER-THE-RHINE, Ohio (Deborah Dixon) -- Crime continues to drop in the part of Over-the-Rhine where people go to eat, drink and party, and the street car construction could be part of the reason.
Police Captain Mike John believes the construction workers are scaring away drug dealers and customers.
John calls them a sort of guardians of the neighborhood, but there may be more than that. Mayor John Cranley, a street car opponent, thinks it's not about construction but about development with corporations investing millions of dollars into the development of the neighborhood.
Cranley says that development such as the renovation of old St Paul's Church at 1429 Race Street scares criminals away. Built in 1850, it was in serious danger of collapsing after a storm and could have been torn down, but construction now begins on the new Taft's Ale House that will open in the fall.
Cranley says when people start abandoning neighborhoods, criminals come in. When we reclaim them, the bad guys scurry and it becomes a safe place.
OTR resident Ryan Messer believes corporations are investing in the neighborhood because of the street car. He has seen a decline in crime since street car construction started.
It may just be a little bit of everything. Numbers show while crime drops in the entertainment district, there have been several shootings north, around McMicken. That is where troublemakers have moved.
Captain John says police patrols will follow.