Don't P*** On the 'Nati

I know quite a few people that read the blog live here in Cincinnati, many in the suburban parts of town. Still, you've tolerated the past four years of my pro-city polemic, listening to me laud the benefits of Cincinnati on a constant basis. So as not to disappoint, I felt it was necessary for me to at least use this space to comment on the recent study naming OTR [a nearby Cincinnati community] the most dangerous neighborhood in America.

My verdict: this is the dumbest thing I have perhaps ever read.

I wish I had more time to deconstruct this article [although you can find some good efforts here, here, and here], but it is flawed beyond belief. All over talk radio and local media people are relying on the claim that "the numbers don't lie." But it is not the numbers lying, rather that the math is an absolute failure. A study is only as good as the academic integrity upon which it stands. There is an inconsistency in number crunching here that should be criticized and yet the media here in Cincinnati is too lazy to do that work.

Why wouldn't the local media try to refute this? Because it enables the stereotyping and demonization of the city that many in the suburbs eat for breakfast— feeding the "thank God I don't live there" mentality. This bad news is what sells, so the local press will avert their eyes to the truth and whore themselves out for the money. It's truly sad that many residents of the Greater Cincinnati area, those who would have nothing apart from the past 200+ years of our city's existence, choose to ABUSE IT and PILLAGE ITS ASSETS rather than acknowledge it as a blessing. Is this city perfect? By no means. But are there people here worth fighting for? Without a doubt.

If you care to disagree with me and are falling for this "study" hook, line, and sinker, I would suggest a wager: I will stand out on a street corner in Over-the-Rhine at night and you can stand out on a corner of my choosing in another major metropolitan area [currently, I'm leaning towards some neighborhoods in urban Detroit]. We'll see who fares better. I suspect I'd live to tell about it.

Look, I'm not saying OTR is the safest place to be, but it is improving. Over the past four years I've met scores of people in tough neighborhoods throughout our city who are trying to make their communities safer. It does a major disservice to their commitment to allow a ridiculous statement like this to stand unprotested.

Finally, if you can't stomach my rhetoric, let me give a personal example. Numerous times this past year my wife and daughter have ventured into this "worst neighborhood" without me. In the midst of this "warzone" is Findlay Market, one of our city's best treasures. As they were there, I did not fear for their safety but was grateful to live in a city where they could have such a unique experience. And I'm sure they'll go back again soon. I wouldn't put my family in harm's way. I wouldn't let my family venture into the worst neighborhood in America without me.

Just because you don't live here doesn't mean you have to hate it.