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Fatal shootings concern Cincinnati neighborhood

CINCINNATI (AP) — Residents of a Cincinnati neighborhood that's been making redevelopment progress are upset that the number of killings there in the first month of the year exceeds the total for the last two years combined.

Two of the five slayings in January occurred at one apartment complex in the Avondale neighborhood north of downtown, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer (http://cin.ci/1fpyvat ).

Ozie Davis, who heads a group that has been leading redevelopment efforts, commented: "Anytime you have five (fatal) shootings in a month, it's a step back."

Residents of the Colonial Village complex say drug dealers have gained a foothold by befriending female renters.

"It is bad up here," said Kristin Williams, 28, a single mother of three. "Once the sun goes down, I'm scared."

She is unhappy that other women in the subsidized housing complex allowed their units to be used by drug dealers.

"And our lives are put at risk," she said.

Cincinnati Police Capt. Michael Neville said police are aware that some problems come from people who move in "and start taking over." He said police have planned a meeting with the owners of the complex. Police have sent residents a letter saying they are committed to their safety.

"Police alone are never enough," Davis said. "But if police and residents are working together, you can (make) that street safe."

There were two fatal shootings in the neighborhood last year, and one homicide in 2012.

The Avondale Comprehensive Development Corp. planned to organize a meeting of Colonial Village residents. The neighborhood of about 12,500 has been seeing progress, such as new activities for youths, federal funding for rehabilitating buildings and providing social services, and new job-training and placement services.

"You learn to be resilient in a neighborhood like this," Davis said. "That resiliency is actually a strength. Not that you want bad times, but when you have them, you get strong people."

Julia Robinson said she's not going to let criminals run her out of the home she's lived in since 1967. The retired nurse installed an alarm system years ago that helped stop break-ins, and she has attended a police academy for residents, gotten to know the police who patrol the neighborhood and has obtained a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

"If (criminals) come in here, I'll light them up like a Christmas tree," she said.

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