Many of you have been hearing stories about several incidents last week in the 900 and 1000 blocks of Dana Avenue, near Reading Road, where a number of our students live in off-campus housing. Most of the “stories” include misconceptions about the incidents and the people allegedly involved. This letter is an attempt to provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information.
Last week the Cincinnati Police Department (CPD) responded to two calls to a home in the 900 block of Dana Avenue where a group of Xavier students were living. The call concerned a group of about 10-15 non-Xavier students between the ages of 12 and 17 armed with bricks, who were verbally and physically threatening the Xavier students. One student suffered minor injuries. Another call came from the 1000 block of Dana, where a smaller group of juveniles threatened three Xavier students. The motive for the threats is unknown.
CPD and Xavier Campus Police responded to and investigated these incidents. Their investigation included an undercover operation and a 38-officer sweep of the area. CPD have identified and questioned several juveniles, including the person police believe is the leader. CPD is careful to indicate however, that they found no evidence that this is an organized gang, and no evidence of gang activity. No incidents were reported in the area over the weekend.
As a result of the threats, some of the students have moved out or are in the process of moving out of those residences. Students and administrators from the University are in touch with the North Avondale Neighborhood Association as well as representatives from the Community Police Partnering Center in an attempt to get a better understanding of concerns about safety in the neighborhood and develop a strategy to address them directly for the betterment of the entire community.
In the meantime, Xavier Campus Police remind all students, on and off-campus, to always follow these safety tips:
• If you notice anything unusual, suspicious or feel threatened, call 911.
• Never walk alone at night.
• Wherever you are, be aware of your surroundings.
• Look out for your friends and neighbors.
• Practice responsible behavior. Living on your own requires taking steps such as calling for a ride or locking doors to keep yourself and your belongings safe.
Students on and off-campus are also encouraged to call Xavier Campus Police at 745-1000, 24 hours a day to report any suspicious activity. The safety of our students is a top priority.
It is worth noting that many Xavier faculty and staff and their families are long-time residents of North Avondale and the University has a strong relationship with the community. Xavier is committed to providing a safe environment for our students on campus and in the neighborhoods that surround us, for the betterment of our entire community. We will continue to keep the Xavier community updated on this situation as well as our on-going involvement in the North Avondale, Evanston and Norwood neighborhoods.
Michael Graham, S.J.