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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Police Women of Cincinnati

On Thursday, January 13, 2011 "Police Women of Cincinnati" premiers on TLC. This is the 5th installment of the Police Women franchise after Broward County, Maricopa County, Memphis, and Dallas. Below is the description of the show from the website:

"The latest installment of the hit POLICE WOMEN franchise moves to Cincinnati, Ohio - The Queen City - to follow four highly respected female officers with the Cincinnati Police Department. These fearless women will encounter intense cop drama and action as they patrol some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in America, all while balancing kids, significant others, and life at home."

Let me first say that I very much respect the hard work that our men and women in blue do. It is a difficult job with long hours, and to also balance a family and home life can be quite a feat at times. To be a woman in this job is even more difficult because you have to deal with stereotypes and overcoming possible sexism and disrespect.

The description from TLC saying that these women "patrol some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in America" is playing fast and loose with the facts. They do not cite where this information came from, leading many to assume this is true when in fact, it is based on a flawed survey from from 2009 declaring that a small section of Over the Rhine was the most dangerous neighborhood in America. This survey was refuted by HERE. This past year (2010), Over the Rhine moved down this same list, but was again analyzed and refuted by HERE.

At a time when Over the Rhine is experiencing a resurgence with new bars and restaurants opening (MOTR, Neon's, Joe's, Lavomatic, Senate, Venice on Vine, Lackman, etc), new apartments and condos (Parvis, Lackman, Trideca, Trinity Flats, Duveneck, etc), other investments by 3CDC, and the streetcar beginning construction soon, this show can only harm the growth and increased investment in the neighborhood. I struggle every day to educate my friends about the facts of the neighborhood, and how the area is safer and cleaner than it was 6 years ago when I moved to Cincinnati.

This show is not going to discourage me from moving to and investing in OTR because I spend time there and know the neighborhood. However, the people in our region who rely only on the news reports on TV (many of which wrongly report locations of crimes), reality shows, and our biased hometown paper never get the facts. They are fed the sensationalist line that OTR is a dangerous haven of prostitution, murder, and other crimes and they blindly believe these reports.

When I tell people my experiences about the neighborhood they look at me sideways like I am some sort of crazed fool. While it has been a challenge convincing Elyse to look at apartments in OTR (I understand the hesitance) but she is willing to learn and experience and look past the sensationalism. We are already concerned that many of our friends from the burbs or other neighborhoods aren't going to be willing to visit us if we live there.

With this show coming online, people from the suburbs around Cincinnati are not going to want to spend time in OTR and people from outside the region are not going to want to move to Cincinnati. I'm afraid this show will be seriously damaging to Cincinnati's reputation. In the world of PR and marketing, perception is reality unfortunately. However, we should be working to make perceptions match the reality that OTR is a much improved neighborhood with a bright future.

As part of an ongoing blog series here, I will watch each episode and post my reactions afterward. I have DVR, so it may not be the same day, but I am interested in seeing how they portray this city that I love so much. One good thing I can see coming from this are some beautiful footage of Cincinnati.

In the meantime, I challenge all of YOU to watch a few episodes of the show and then go down to OTR and patronize one of the many establishments down there. If you need any recommendations, let me know!


  1. I hesitate because I care ;-) But you are teaching me the ways of the OTR force.

  2. I pushed my wife to consider a number of places to live in OTR which she was fairly open to but ended up loving a place she thought she would hate by the pictures. Some people are inquisitive about living in OTR, but most just ask how you like it and we explain how much we like our neighbors, urban living, and the excitement of being down here in this rebirth. Most places to rent are pretty cool conversions, so people are generally impressed when they come to visit. The hardest thing for suburban visitors to adjust to is parking, but thats probably not such a big deal. I the best thing about moving down here was the instant community immersion with neighbors and shop owners and also the inherent walk-ability for the things we care about (like Findlay, restaurants, bars, Park + Vine and even an occasional run to Kroger).