I-Team investigation: Violent crimes in Cleveland up, fewer criminal cases in courts

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CLEVELAND- The FOX 8 I-Team is asking hard questions after finding two troubling trends with safety on your Cleveland streets.

We found some violent crimes have gone way up, while many fewer criminal cases are moving through the courts.

The head of the Cleveland Police Patrolman's Association said a big factor is everything that’s going on with police locally and nationally.

“Call it the Ferguson effect, call it the Baltimore effect, call it the Cleveland effect. Guys are  no longer willing to proactively police," CPPA President Steve Loomis said.

Loomis said many officers no longer make an extra effort to fight crime. They’ve grown tired of seeing riots against police in places such as Ferguson and Baltimore, and they’ve become demoralized by federal officials taking a hard look at police operations in Cleveland.

This week investigators said a man on the east side even fired shots at Cleveland police officers on patrol.

The most recent statistics from Cleveland show robberies with guns up 7 percent, murders up 18 percent and felony assaults with guns up 32 percent.

The I-Team also did some digging. We found the number of felony cases filed in the Cleveland Clerk’s Office down 19 percent. We also found lesser misdemeanor cases down 29 percent. Even at the Cuyahoga County Clerk’s office, where many local police departments turn in cases, we found indictments down 12 percent.

In July, the I-Team also found a dramatic drop in the number of traffic tickets handed out in Cleveland.

We tried to ask the Cleveland police chief about our findings and what the union says, but the chief left a news conference as it wrapped up. His office said he immediately had another commitment, plus it would take time to look into our figures.

There could be many factors involved, but the union leader is adamant the climate around law enforcement has played a role.

“And I have politicians and I have prosecutors... Coming out, going after these guys, they get paid the same to sit in their cars," Loomis.