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Apartment building in Avondale attracts trouble

CINCINNATI (Deb Dixon) -- Weeks before a 14-year-old boy accidentally shot and killed a 14-year-old girl Saturday, police were keeping tabs on the apartment building where it happened.

It's part of data-driven policing.  Police use the information to figure out why bad things keeping happening in the same place.  It started out as a nail party inside apartment 25 of the Poinciana building on Reading Road.  Just girls from the neighborhood getting their nails done.  More teens showed up and a 14-year-old boy started playing with a gun that went off killing a 14-year-old girl.

For apartment 25 it was the latest police run.  They've been keeping track.  There are four floors.  Each apartment on a chart is color coded according to the number of calls for service since January 2013.  The red represents the most, six to 13 calls, the yellow is 4-5 calls.  Apartment 25 is code yellow.

Capt. Mike Neville of the Cincinnati Police Department said, "To rid the apartment of the ones causing the problems in here.  We're in the midst of doing that now."

The tenant in the apartment where it happened has been evicted, with this police plan it wont be the last.  Captain Neville did the same thing on Irving Street in Avondale, after two murders in January.  He wrote a letter to residents in the apartment community promising an end to drug and gang activity.  Police partnered with the property owner and the Faith Based Community.  Arrests were made, tenants evicted, and there hasn't  been a violent crime since.  It gives power back to the good residents. 

"Sometimes we can put good people in buildings but they're not strong enough, can be consumed by the spirit of the building.  I think that's what's happened here," Ennis Tait, a Pastor, said.

People talked about  a deep sense of sadness for what happened here.

"The years started off bad, I pray that's all I can do is pray and keep my grandkids safe," said Kimberly Marshall.

Young people from the neighborhood stood in front of the iron gate around the poinciana like they usually do. But now memorial teddy bears and balloons are tied to the fence. Residents worry about a long hot summer.  Police say the plan will be in place before that.

The teenager who admits accidentally shooting the girl is charged with reckless homicide.  Juvenile court officials say he has several previous charges.  He's been arrested for burglary three times.

Follow Deborah Dixon on Twitter @crimestopperdeb and LIKE her on Facebook




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