News Politics

Just another statistic…

It has been just over a month (11/27) since I became a statistic. After going to the Know Theatre for a review of Sideways Stories from Wayside School I was walking back towards Fountain Square when my friend and I were robbed at gunpoint at the intersection of Vine and Court streets (map).

No one was hurt, although material possessions were taken along with our nerves that night. It was not so much the fear, but the state of shock took over our minds. There were lots of people around – about a half dozen at the bus stop a half block away, another dozen or so hanging outside of Hamburger Mary’s, cars moving along on Central Parkway, and we were right on Vine Street. We could not believe what was happening until it was all over.

The encouraging part was that someone at the bus stop called the police who responded within a few short minutes. Another gentleman expressed his condolences as we continued to make our way back into the Central Business District, but in the end, we have been added to the spreadsheets as victims of crime.

Looking back on things it appeared as though the individual who approached us had no intention on using the Western-style handgun of his that he was holding palm up, and it also appeared that it was all made possible by a dark Court Street area where he, and an accomplice, were able to hide. Since that time Court Street has seen additional lighting added to it in a move that I find non-coincidental.

Both my friend and I are avid city supporters and are not scared away easily. The next day I walked around historic Over-the-Rhine taking photographs of new development projects and architectural features throughout the beautiful neighborhood. But with that said, the incident gave me a reminder that we must always be aware of our surroundings no matter how comfortable we might be.

Additionally, as urban-advocates we must realize that crime, and the perception of it, must be addressed in a prioritized way that is thought out and well managed. Would surveillance cameras prevented this incident from occurring, or would it have just happened somewhere else where it was dark and without a camera? Would additional lighting have changed the situation? More police? More jail beds?

These are all complex issues that are very worth discussion as we continue to move forward with the redevelopment of our urban communities. We need a smart city in order to thrive in the future, and overlooking how to effectively manage crime would be a major mistake.

By Randy A. Simes

Randy is an award-winning urban planner who founded UrbanCincy in May 2007. He grew up on Cincinnati’s west side in Covedale, and graduated from the University of Cincinnati’s nationally acclaimed School of Planning in June 2009. In addition to maintaining ownership and serving as the managing editor for UrbanCincy, Randy has worked professionally as a planning consultant throughout the United States, Korea and the Middle East. After brief stints in Atlanta and Chicago, he currently lives in the Daechi neighborhood of Seoul’s Gangnam district.