Friday, November 05, 1999

Covington mobilizes against gangs, dealers

Groups meet to map out strategy

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — Community groups, business owners and residents can learn how to recognize and stop gangs, as well as tactics for ridding neighborhoods of drug dealers, at a community symposium Saturday.

        “The purpose of this is to show what other areas are doing to revitalize urban communities,” said Rollins Davis, executive director of the Northern Kentucky Community Center. “We want to show residents how to approach delicate issues, such as gangs and drugs.”

        Among those making pre sentations will be representatives of the Coalition of Neighborhoods in Kennedy Heights, which will report on its use of the FACT program Fighting Against Crack Trafficking.

        Developed in Philadelphia in 1986, FACT uses a confrontational approach to force drug dealers off neighborhood streets. Participants wearing T-shirts and hats with anti-drug slogans march on areas that drug dealers are known to frequent, chanting for them to leave.

        Three Cincinnati neighorhoods that started FACT in September 1996 saw major drops in drug-related crimes, said James Jordan, executive director of the Coalition of


        A comparison of drug-related crimes for the last quarters of 1996 and 1995 showed decreases of 24 percent in Madisonville, 11 percent in Evanston and 23 percent in Mount Auburn, he said.

        However, in Avondale, another Cincinnati neighborhood that tried the FACT program, drug-related crimes increased.

        “Crime didn't drop in Avondale because people didn't take this on like they did in the other areas,” Mr. Jordan said. “You can't just march one time and expect (drug dealing) to stop.”

        Mr. Davis said he hopes the symposium will inspire Covington residents to start a FACT program, after hearing how safe and effective it can be.

        Presentations also will be made by Covington Block Watch, the faith-based Genesis Men's Program, the Community Building Institute, Covington police, and the city of Covington on its attempts to get a federal grant to fight crime and boost deteriorating neighborhoods.

        The symposium will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Northern Kentucky Community Center.


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