CLEVELAND (WJW) – Several dozen residents and business owners of Ward 14 attended a meeting to address crime near Cleveland’s west side Wednesday evening.
It was held at the Pivot Center for Art, Dance and Expression on West 25th Street.
“A lot of drug activity right now… It’s just getting worse. A lot of shootings, senseless,” said Ward 14 business owner Gary Grace.
“We’re just sick and tired of sitting on our porch and you’ve got people flying by stop signs. We want to end this, you know? It’s not going to happen overnight, but let’s get it better and it is getting better,” said Ward 14 resident Danny Bezares.
Ward 14 councilwoman Jasmin Santana scheduled the meeting because she wants her constituents to be able to ask questions to city leaders and hear solutions.
“I really think this meeting is going to help bring us together and really identify the challenges that are existing in our neighborhood and why crime has increased in our area,” Santana said.
“I’m afraid to even come down here,” said Grace.
“In this ward specifically, 12 new cadets will be patrolling the streets right here in Ward 14 to keep the community safe and year to date, we’ve gotten nearly 2,000 guns off the street,” said Mayor Bibb.
Mayor Justin Bibb says a new police union contract is expected to create an 11% pay raise over three years and attract new officers and retain current ones on a force that’s down more than 300 officers.
“That’s why we mandate every officer during their first and second shift to walk the beat for at least one hour and we are going to bringing in a marketing firm to be helping out marketing efforts to attract more officers to join our department,” said Mayor Bibb.
Police chief Wayne Drummond says overall, the city’s homicide rate is slightly lower than this time last year, but only by about a handful of killings.
“We can’t do it by ourselves, it’s quite evident… Give us a call and so forth, provide us with information so that we can hopefully solve some crimes and prevent some crimes from happening,” said the police chief.
Chief Drummond says the department will also continue to work closely with other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to get illegal guns and bad guys off the street.
Mayor Bibb wants to urge parents to contact the city about programs their children can enroll in. He urges them to make sure they are in school, and not on the street.