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Police detail new plan to address crime

CINCINNATI (Angela Ingram) -- It was a violent couple of nights downtown but all the while Cincinnati's top cop was reassuring the community that there was nothing to worry about.

Wednesday night Chief Jeffrey Blackwell gave one more reason why; the man that sparked all the violence, Fonte Williams, was taken into police custody. There was an increased police presence at Piatt Park and the surrounding area Wednesday.  Officers were on the corners, in their cruisers, walking and riding on Segways.  The chief said it was important that people feel safe downtown.

Family and friends of shooting victim Joshua Taylor went back to Piatt Park Wednesday, the pain of losing a loved-one still fresh in their minds.

The victim's friend, Bobby Strickland, said, "Well, I mean, it hurt me to my heart to know that my best friend died in my arms."

Tuesday, Chief Blackwell addressed the concerns of people who live downtown.  He tried to calm fears about the Taylor homicide.  Then shortly afterward, there was more violence.  Another shooting, at the same spot, that left three people hurt.  Wednesday the chief reminded people that crime in the downtown area has dropped.

Chief Blackwell said, "We want the message out there that violent street crime is not going to be tolerated because not only is crime paralyzing, but the fear of crime is equally paralyzing."
He said from now through Oktoberfest there will be an increased police presence for major downtown events.  That included citizens on patrol, motorcycle units and quality of life officers all reassigned to the area as well as undercover units.  Some people visiting the city said they felt comfortable despite the recent shootings downtown. 

Visitor Julie Peters said, "To be honest, I never thought about safety or security, or if we're safe or not.  We're just here to have a fun time."
People who loved Joshua Taylor were grateful the police presence was keeping the park safe.  But they wish the verbal fight which led to the shooting never happened. 

The chief pointed to two recent events that drew tens of thousands of people downtown with no problems.  He said about two weeks ago when the Bruno Mars and Beyonce/ Jay-Z concerts happened in the same weekend there were no violent incidents    

The police chief said despite the recent shootings violent crime was down 21 percent citywide.  And shootings are down about 20 percent.

Follow Angela Ingram on Twitter @newslaw1 and LIKE her on Facebook




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