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Thursday, January 26, 2012

School for Creative & Performing Arts Mom Urges City Crackdown On Area Streetcrime: 'We Need To Feel Safe Around Our School'

Suburban Troublemaker Threatens SCPA Family?
CINCINNATI (TDB) -- A 22-year-old Loveland resident is accused of threatening to kill a first grader and her mother outside The School for Creative and Performing Arts last month.  Police reports make it look like a random incident of unprovoked white suburban thuggery.   That the attack took place outside a school makes it worse.  There is no question the $72 million SCPA is a gem with a 96% graduation rate.  Its home on Central Parkway is a glittering palace for the arts, a dream child of the late Cincinnati Pops conductor Erich Kunzel.  The place oozes class and refinement and embodies that old saying, "art is the stored honey of the human soul."

Yes, the school is in a rough part of downtown, an area that tiptoes into Over-the-Rhine.  But nobody who lives in Over-the-Rhine is remotely at fault.  The terrifying incident near the school last month involved a suburban woman who seems to have come from 20 miles away to cause trouble.  The accused appears to have mental health issues.  The SCPA mother, Stacey Calkins, has written to Mayor Mark Mallory pointing out that she and her 6-year-old daughter were walking to their car after school when targeted.  Her letter raises a question: Does Cincinnati's crime rate suffer because out-of-town troublemakers cluster in a few pockets near downtown where they harass the city's law-abiding populace?  Why should Cincinnati be ground zero for those who are unstable or socially unfit? 

In her letter,Calkins spoke of her terror when confronted.  And she wondered if it is wise for a school to have the Drop Inn Center, a homeless shelter, as a neighbor.
 She does not consider it a compatible arrangement.  The police report says woman who was arrested lived in an apartment complex on Park Avenue in Loveland, a suburb about 20 miles away.  The police report does not explain what the 22-year-old Loveland woman was doing outside SCPA.  It does say she was "arrested, threatened to kill both victims.  Also resisted arrest by fighting the police.''  The accused is white and her defense lawyer, an assistant public defender, has filed notice that she is pleading not guilty by reason of insanity.

Calkins said she believes the attacker was visiting the Drop Inn Center.  From the letter:

"I believe Ms XXX may have been visiting the Drop Inn Center before she targeted my daughter and me and we walked to our car after school . . .

"I clearly understand the case does not involved the Drop Inn Center [directly].  I also understand the Drop Inn Center and the 1132 Bar existed in their current location before the new SCPA was built.  However, I have serious concerns regarding the fact that both are located right beside the school.  During the last 1.5 years that my daughter has attended the new SCPA, I have witnesses individuals smoking marijuana and crack, drinking alcohol from open containers, and a man assaulting a woman in Washington Park.

"The incident with Ms. XXX was absolutely terrifying.  I feared she would injure me and take my daughter.  I do not want something to happen again to my daughter, myself or anyone else.  We need to feel safe around our school.

"What can I do to protect my child, myself, other children, parents and teachers at SCPA?  I want to work cooperatively to advocate a safe school environment as as soon as possible.  What positive things can I do to pull our community together to address these issues?  I care about the homeless by my child is my number 1 priority."

UPDATE 2:12 p.m.  -- Kudos should go out to two Cincinnati police officers, Sgts. Joe Priestle and Steve Saunders.  The mom reports they have been responsive and "helpful in addressing my questions and concerns."  It is also disturbing is that the 170-pound suspect apparently tried to fight with Patrolman John Taulbee at the time of her arrest.


  1. I hope someday to see a study breaking down data over the amount of crime attributed to non-residents. I do not want to imply that we are a catch basin for the mentally ill who have nowhere to live but on the streets. I fear that is true. The Queen City has too many sickos living in her skirts.

  2. Great school shaky neighborhood. OTR is on the upside. Streetcar coming will only make things better. Vagrants need to be flushed out for better days ahead.

    1. I agree. We must get rid of these poor people. They are undesirables. We're here now, the poor need to go!

  3. If the neighborhood gentrifies, and that is happening, then these kinds of incidents will become a thing of the past. My heart goes out to the mom and her daughter. Nobody should be threatened by a kook. Kooks shouldn't be out wandering the streets. We have abrogated our responsibility to the poor and unfortunate among us. They are the throwaway people. They need help and we put them out on the streets where they get into trouble and hurt themselves and innocent others.

  4. Cincinnati HistoryJanuary 26, 2012 10:03 PM

    City working to redevelop the area. Judge Pat DeWine has lawsuit over trying to stop gospel mission and others from moving. His decision will have a lot to determine about safety around SCPA.