Wednesday, March 10, 1999

Anti-drug fight makes a dent


After success in D.C., Avondale man leads crusade

BY ALLEN HOWARD
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Drugs can chase you only so far if you are willing to fight back. That's the philosophy that Tom Jones, chairman of the Avondale Public Safety Task Force, brought to Cincinnati when he moved here six years ago.

        He was looking for a job, an opportunity to start a business and to get away from his drug-infested neighborhood in Washington, D.C.

        Mr. Jones, 54, is leading the task force on a mission of chasing drug dealers out of the Burnet Avenue Business District in Avondale.

        He owns a copying and printing business on Rockdale Avenue, a part of the business district.

        He likes Avondale, lives there and runs his business there. But he doesn't like what he sees on Burnet Ave nue and the side streets such as Rockdale.

        He said it reminds him of Washington.

        “Drug dealing was all over D.C,” he said. “But we pulled together a group and cleared it out of the district where I ran my business. After looking at Avondale, I figured if we could do it in D.C., where you could get your head blown off, why couldn't we do it in Avondale?”

        Mr. Jones began to pull together a group when he moved his business to Avondale last April after operating the Business Service Center in Roselawn.

Many lend hands
        “I was amazed at the help I received from residents, businesses, the police and city officials,” he said.

        The task force is made up of members of the Avondale Community Council; residents; local businesses; and institutions such as the Cincinnati Zoo, Children's Hospital Medical Center, the Ronald McDonald House, Allstate Insurance Co., churches, and members of the Cincinnati Neighborhood Action Strategy (CNAS) team.

        CNAS is made up of representatives of the city government's public safety, health, public works, building and inspection, and economic development departments.

        Shawn George, a District 4 police officer assigned to the area, said 216 arrests have been made, mostly on Burnet Avenue, since November. Officer George said 70 percent of the arrests were drug-related.

        “Residents are cooperating with police by identifying drug dealers and drug hangouts,” he said.

        Vince Morton, owner of Morton's Corner Discount, Rockdale and Burnet, watches the street atmosphere changing.

        “You can see the big difference since the task force was started,” he said. “You don't see as many people just standing on the corners doing nothing. ... Now that we have it started and it's being effective, the big question is, Will it continue? If the task force and the police back off, it will go right back to the way it was.”

        Mr. Jones talked of a long-range plan of taking back the neighborhood.

Money needed
        “We have recruited 700 kids to pass out literature door to door for a fund-raising drive to support the task force,” Mr. Jones said. “We have to involve the entire community in its safety and preservation.”

        He said the task force plans to raise enough money to buy three cars equipped with surveillance apparatus to be visible in the neighborhood.

        Mr. Jones is a widower and the father of one son, who manages a copying business in Washington.

        “I am glad I started a business in Avondale,” Mr. Jones said. “We don't intend to move. But we intend to drive out the drug dealers.”

       



Falling snow: whiteout for life's stresses
Taft says surplus should go to schools
Snow may stretch out school year
Firm to clean up silos at Fernald
Black voters go to court over judges
Coretta King recalls impact of non-violence
Robert Conley, president of Union Institute, dies
Stutterers speak out
whites challenge firefighter selection process
Development of stuttering
Do's and don'ts in conversation
Yates plans to organize opposition to mayor reform
Carl Reiner comes clean about P&G
Agency forming to operate light rail
Bush gets abortion criticism
Conference calls to men
Group argues against Sabin expansion
Official quits amid sex scandal
Princeton takes levy off ballot
- Anti-drug fight makes a dent
Boone company invests in device that saves lives
Clearcreek's big, new park
Costs of new county jail investigated
County will help make log cabin German museum
Farmers market being built without state help
Funding program takes new direction
Jury: 'Scarlet letter' firing should cost firm $500,000
Kenton targets illegal dumping
Lakota studies redistricting
Mason wins OK to annex 102 acres
Not your old phys ed
Police officer demoted over choking incident
School test results questioned
Slice of area's past in cemetery
Sneak peek this week at 'Trekkies'
Townships want tornado warnings
TRISTATE DIGEST