Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Mayor says criminals will continue to feel heat

Task force nabs 250 in 4 days

By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Cincinnati police officers working 12-hour shifts last week made more than 250 arrests in four days, leaving the mayor to promise that such pressure on criminals will continue.

"We have to do it,'' Mayor Charlie Luken said Monday. "We're just talking about how.''

The officers, about 75 of them, mostly from the Street Corner drug unit and annual Robbery Task Force, each worked four hours extra Tuesday through Friday - the department's response, in part, to complaints of escalating violence in the West End.

Two people were killed in the neighborhood in three days. The most recent one, a week ago, was a 17-year-old mother shot while riding in a car. The man accused of killing her, Tyrone James, 18, was among those arrested by the overtime officers.

"It's unbelievable the work they did,'' Chief Tom Streicher said.

They also arrested two others suspected in other homicides, but they have not yet been charged.

Other highlights of the week:

An inspection Friday night at Martin's bar on Stark Street resulted in the recovery of three guns and 35 grams of powder cocaine. Officers said they heard the weapons being dropped to the floor as they walked in, leaving them unable to discern which patrons were carrying them. The bar was the site last month of a shooting in which someone opened the front door and fired inside, hurting three people.

Officers recovered 17 guns, more than 1,800 grams of marijuana, more than 450 grams of cocaine and 15.64 grams of heroin.

The numbers are part of a bigger tally for the Robbery Task Force, which began Nov. 18 and ended Saturday.

That group made 818 arrests, Capt. James Whalen said, and recovered 51 guns, 16 stolen cars, more than 15,000 grams of pot, 905 grams of cocaine, more than 124 grams of heroin and more than $23,500.

The mayor said he met Monday with the chief and Lt. Col. Rick Janke, who oversees the department's patrol bureau, to discuss how to keep up the level of policing the West End and other neighborhoods saw last week.

"The results of proactive policing are now being seen all around us," Mr. Luken said. "People are noticing the difference."

E-mail jprendergast@enquirer.com

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