Residents Sound Off Over Community Safety

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CLEVELAND -- Everything from police shootings to gang violence were topics residents discussed with city leaders at a neighborhood meeting about crime Thursday evening.

Residents of Cleveland's Glenville neighborhood sounded off at a community meeting at the Glenville Recreation Center.  It was a chance to ask city leaders questions, including three councilmen and the chief of police.

"How do you get the guns off the street?" asked one resident.

Several people expressed outrage over last month's shooting of a 12-year-old girl, who was playing in a city park.

"A lot of guns that get in the street are stolen, stolen out of houses, they're stolen out of cars, they're getting onto the street and then they become part of a black market type sale, so we do a gun buyback," responded Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath.

Community Activist Art McKoy told officials he doesn't believe the women in Cleveland feel safe. McKoy asked about recent murders of women in the East 93rd area of the city.

"Did we have some tragedies that took place off of 93rd Street? Yes we did. Do we have some people in custody relative to those tragedies, yes we do," responded Chief McGrath.

"When are those 13 police officers gonna get fired for murdering two black unarmed people?" asked another concerned resident.

Residents are still angry about the November police chase that ended in a deadly shooting in East Cleveland.

Chief McGrath told the residents the incident is currently being reviewed by the county prosecutor's office.

"How do I feel safe and comfortable with police walking up on me, asking me questions and trying to make me feel safe when they don't keep the community safe, when they are shooting down our people?” asked one resident, followed by applause.

"When you engage and interact with each other, that's what it's all about, when you feel comfortable, you build a relationship, so those incidents that you're referring to, young man, doesn't happen," responded fifth district commander Wayne Drummond.

Another resident also asked why red light cameras have been put in the "black community."

"It ain't got nothing to do about white, red, purple,'s Jeff Johnson saying to you, slow down," responded city councilman Jeff Johnson.

Councilman Kevin Conwell said the Glenville Recreation Center, where the meeting was held, was recently refurbished by local teenagers.  He said it is an example of teaching them a trade, keeping them off the street and reducing crime.