CLEVELAND (WJW) – While members of Cleveland City Council’s Safety Committee were meeting about the raging violence on city streets with administrators, homicide detectives were investigating the murder of a 70-year-old man.
According to police sources, the man was killed in the 2800 block of East 116th Street Wednesday afternoon.
“I have never seen the violence this bad,” councilman Mike Polensek said during the meeting.
Polensek said the police department is down 200 officers and more than 200 officers are eligible to retire this year.
“We budgeted money to hire 180 more officers this year,” said council president Blaine Griffin. Council said they are concerned the city administrators will most likely hire about 36 officers by the end of the year.
During the meeting, police chief Wayne Drummond showed council members that most violent crimes, including homicides, aggravated robbery and grand theft of motor vehicles, have increased this year.
Director of Public Safety Karrie Howard said city administrators have always “had a plan to combat violence.”
“Most recently we have put forward the RISE initiative, the administration rolled out the RISE initiative almost three weeks ago,” Howard said.
The RISE plan calls for several changes, including increasing police pay, helping recruit more officers, violence prevention and using technology like ShotSpotter.
The chief credited ShotSpotter for helping save six lives so far this year.
The I-Team checked ShotSpotter cases and found in half of the cases police got to the scene of these calls in less than five minutes. In almost a third of the cases, however, police did not get to the calls for 20 to 25 minutes.
Drummond and Howard say they believe the administration’s new plan will work and help reduce violence. City council members, however, wonder how long it’s going to take to see results from this plan.
“The public is looking for answers right now,” Griffin said. “The public is begging us and telling us they want to understand how we are going to deal with this issue. “